Tuesday

Oct. 30, 2001

After a Movie

by Henry Taylor

TUESDAY, 30 OCTOBER 2001
Listen (RealAudio) | How to listen

Poem: "After a Movie," by Henry Taylor from Understanding Fiction (Louisiana State University).

After a Movie

    The last small credits fade
as house lights rise. Dazed in that radiant instant
    of transition, you dwindle through the lobby
    and out to curbside, pulling on a glove
         with the decisive competence
    of the scarred detective

    or his quarry. Scanning
the rainlit street for taxicabs, you visualize,
    without looking, your image in the window
    of the jeweler's shop, where white hands hover
         above the string of luminous pearls
    on a faceless velvet bust.

    Someone across the street
enters a bar, leaving behind a charged vacancy
    in which you cut to the dim booth inside,
    where you are seated, glancing at the door.
         You lift an eyebrow, recognizing
    the unnamed colleague

    who will conspire with you
against whatever the volatile script provides…
    A cab pulls up. You stoop into the dark
    and settle toward a version of yourself.
         Your profile cruises past the city
    on a home-drifting stream

    through whose surface, sometimes,
you glimpse the life between the streambed and the ripples,
    as, when your gestures are your own again,
    your fingers lift a cup beyond whose rim
         a room bursts into clarity
    and light falls on all things.

It's the birthday of Larry Woiwode, born in Carryington, North Dakota (1941). He is perhaps best known for his novel Beyond the Bedroom Wall (1975), which is a history of a generation of a North Dakota family.

It's the birthday of the poet and dramatist Miguel Hernandez, born in Oriheula, Spain (1910). Hernandez was a soldier for the Loyalist side in the Spanish Civil War in 1936 and was arrested and died of tuberculosis. His poems were published after his death in a collection entitled Songs and Ballads of Absence (1958), and were written in honor of his wife and son during his last years in prison.

It's the birthday of the poet Ezra Pound, born in Hailey, Idaho (1885). Pound, who could speak nine languages and who was admitted to the University of Pennsylvania at the age of 15, published his first book of poems in 1908, at the age of 23, after he had been a deck hand on a cattle boat to Europe. While in London, he met some of his literary heroes, including Henry James and William Butler Yeats. Pound, busy with his own writing, was also a correspondent for Poetry magazine and actually discovered Robert Frost in 1913 and T.S. Eliot in 1914. He was arrested in 1945 for making radio broadcasts for the Fascists, was deemed "insane and mentally unfit for trial," and subsequently spent 12 years in St. Elizabeth's Hospital for the criminally insane. He continued to write, however, and won the Bollington Prize for Pisan Cantos in 1949, while he was still in the hospital.

It's the birthday of the Irish dramatist Richard Brinsley Sheridan, born in Dublin, Ireland (1751). Though he was an active member of Parliament for more than 30 years, he was also enormously popular as an author who created characters like Mrs. Malaprop who was fond of saying, "He is the very pineapple of politeness." Some of his works include The Rivals (1775), and The School for Scandal (1778), both of which are known as some of the greatest social comedies in the world.  At one time, Sheridan owned the Drury Lane Theatre.

Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®

 









«

»

  • “Writers end up writing stories—or rather, stories' shadows—and they're grateful if they can, but it is not enough. Nothing the writer can do is ever enough” —Joy Williams
  • “I want to live other lives. I've never quite believed that one chance is all I get. Writing is my way of making other chances.” —Anne Tyler
  • “Writing is a performance, like singing an aria or dancing a jig” —Stephen Greenblatt
  • “All good writing is swimming under water and holding your breath.” —F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • “Good writing is always about things that are important to you, things that are scary to you, things that eat you up.” —John Edgar Wideman
  • “In certain ways writing is a form of prayer.” —Denise Levertov
  • “Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia.” —E.L. Doctorow
  • “Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” —E.L. Doctorow
  • “Let's face it, writing is hell.” —William Styron
  • “A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.” —Thomas Mann
  • “Writing is 90 percent procrastination: reading magazines, eating cereal out of the box, watching infomercials.” —Paul Rudnick
  • “Writing is a failure. Writing is not only useless, it's spoiled paper.” —Padget Powell
  • “Writing is very hard work and knowing what you're doing the whole time.” —Shelby Foote
  • “I think all writing is a disease. You can't stop it.” —William Carlos Williams
  • “Writing is like getting married. One should never commit oneself until one is amazed at one's luck.” —Iris Murdoch
  • “The less conscious one is of being ‘a writer,’ the better the writing.” —Pico Iyer
  • “Writing is…that oddest of anomalies: an intimate letter to a stranger.” —Pico Iyer
  • “Writing is my dharma.” —Raja Rao
  • “Writing is a combination of intangible creative fantasy and appallingly hard work.” —Anthony Powell
  • “I think writing is, by definition, an optimistic act.” —Michael Cunningham
The Writer's Almanac on Facebook


The Writer's Almanac on Twitter

Subscribe to our daily newsletter for poems, prose and literary history every morning
An interview with Sharon Olds at The Writer's Almanac Bookshelf
Current Faves - Learn more about poets featured frequently on the show
O, What a Luxury

Although he has edited several anthologies of his favorite poems, O, What a Luxury: Verses Lyrical, Vulgar, Pathetic & Profound forges a new path for Garrison Keillor, as a poet of light verse. Purchase O, What a Luxury »