Monday, December 22, 2008

why i'm not a filmmaker

last night the above title for a poem hit me as i was going to sleep. i know o'hara's so loved painting and yet he was a text guy. for me it is cinema, usually b-movies and exploitation, but really almost every sort of genre and quality of film. i've not written a poem with the title, not yet at least and i'm probably dooming myself to never write it as i go thru this meandering now.

still, i'm a late-comer to werner herzog's documentaries. i've watched grizzly man and i have a little film directed by zak penn and starring herzog titled incident at loch ness i've not watched yet. last night i watched herzog's recent docu encounters at the end of the world. i've read some criticism about how herzog takes a considerable amount of glee when he describes our inevitable demise as a species in a segment of this docu. herzog travels to antarctica to explore the vast strangeness of the continent and the vast strangeness of the weirdos and misfits who work there.

i say that with all due respect. who is not a weirdo? really, i mean that. yet, herzog's glee about our brevity as a species is counterpoised with the utter beauty of the men and women and the environment of antarctica. i find herzog a sympathetic voice of calm reason as he investigates the people who live and work in what might be described as the last place on earth. his glee might be found in herzog's existentialism. it is an existentialism tinged with nihilstic tendencies. but what of it. we are doomed as a species. we are. but still there is so much beauty.

herzog describes his work as a search for 'ecstatic truth'. i've still to figure that out. i need to study more of herzog's work. but he's primarily a creature of image and i'm a creature of text. sometimes these so mesh. i was literally blown away by this film. as i fell asleep last night with images of this movie playing in my head along with herzog's calm voice as narrator i did well imagine o'hara falling asleep after a particularly great gallery show. as the poet's mind revisited certain paintings there might've been a bit of envy in such abilities to conjure a reality thru imagery. but o'hara was a creature of text and not to paint too broad a picture between me and a great poet, still, i can imagine that o'hara got up the next morning doing the routine things of life then something, an image of a painting or a remembered snippet of a conversation ,set him off again onto the next poem.


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