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Poetry Documentaries
"The United States of Poetry": A Series by PBS
Donald Hall and Jane Kenyon: A Life Together
Fooling with Words with Bill Moyers
Frank Bidart, The Maker
Slamnation: A Poetry Slam Documentary
Voices & Visions: A PBS Series
Bukowski: Born into This
The Lannan Foundation Video Series
Related Prose
A Brief Guide to the New York School
The Artists & Poets of the New York School
Related Authors
Barbara Guest
Barbara Guest
The author of numerous collections of poetry, Barbara Guest was predominantly a writer of the New York School...
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Charles Bernstein
Charles Bernstein
Charles Bernstein was born in New York City in 1950. He received...
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David Lehman
David Lehman was born in New York City in 1948. He graduated...
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Frank O'Hara
Frank O'Hara
Born in 1926, Frank O'Hara was one of the most distinguished members of the New York School of poets...
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Something Wonderful May Happen: A New York School Documentary


The New York School of poetry began around 1960 in New York City and included poets such as John Ashbery, Barbara Guest, Kenneth Koch, and Frank O'Hara. Heavily influenced by surrealism and modernism, the poetry of the New York School was serious but also ironic, and incorporated an urban sensibility.

Filmed in 2001, this Danish documentary is a rare effort to document on film the history of the New York School of poets. The film focuses on John Ashbery and the late Kenneth Koch, featuring readings and interviews. The film also includes footage of Frank O’Hara from the 1960s, reading, answering questions, talking on the phone, and occasionally juggling all three at once.

Unfortunately the life and work of James Schuyler receives almost no mention and the poet Barbara Guest is left out entirely. Poets David Lehman and Charles Bernstein provide much of the commentary. Remarkable moments with artists Jane Freilicher, Alfred Leslie, and Larry Rivers provide the most unvarnished and interesting portraits of the poets. The writers Hettie Jones, Jordan Davis and Bill Morgan also read and provide commentary on the influence of the New York School.

Produced and directed by Lars Movin, Niels Plenge and Thomas Thurah (2001). Not Rated. Distributed by Filmakers Library

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