It’s National Poetry Month. You don’t have to stretch your movie-watching habits far to include movies that have something to do with poetry. Here’s a short, by no means comprehensive list.
Movies inspired by poems
O Brother, Where Art Thou? is the Coen brothers’ version of Homer’s “Odyssey.”
Jabberwocky is a poem found in Lewis Carroll’s novel Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There. The nonsense poem added words such as “chortle” and “galumphing” to the English language. The nonsense movie is directed by Monty Python alumnus Terry Gilliam.
Much Ado About Nothing, Othello, Hamlet, well, there are dozens of movies versions of Shakespeare’s poetic plays. Dozens more are based on his work, including The Lion King, She’s the Man, and Akira Kurosawa’s Ran.
Bright Star covers a poem of the same name by John Keats, about his love for Fanny Brawne.
Braveheart is based on the the epic written by makar Blind Harry, “The Actes and Deidis of the Illustre and Vallyeant Campioun Schir William Wallace.”
Movies about poets
Howl looks at the 1957 obscenity trial against Allen Ginsberg and the title poem.
Total Eclipse is a dramatized account of poet Arthur Rimbaud’s affair with Paul Verlaine.
Sylvia portrays the love and despair of poet Sylvia Plath.
The Basketball Diaries is a harrowing story of athleticism, addiction, and redemption based on poet Jim Carroll’s autobiography.
Barfly is based on Charles Bukowski tumultuous life.
Before Night Falls is adapted from the memoir of poet Reinaldo Arenas.
Movies about poetry
Henry Fool is about an ex-convict who encourages a friend to become a poet.
Poetic Justice includes several poems by Maya Angelou.
Big Bad Love highlights the struggles of a poet and writer dealing with his own war memories and alcoholism.
Slam is about a young man’s dedication to spoken word poetry after his release from prison.