In the years after World War II the New York School of Poets set a new agenda for American literature with poetry that did not shy away from common language, cliches and humor. The core of the movement was a small group of writers including Museum of Modern Art curator Frank O'Hara and his friends John Ashbery and Kenneth Koch. This new generation of poets and artists was fuelled by a strange mix of optimism and disillusion, fresh energy and dissatisfaction with the prevalent conformity of the time. The New York School of Poets manifested a powerful departure from traditional poetry. Today they are considered among the most important 20th century poets in America.
This lively and comprehensive film presents readings and interviews with Ashbery and Koch as well as rare archival footage of O'Hara. Two younger poets, David Lehman (author of The Last Avant-Garde: The Making of the New York School of Poets (1998), and Charles Bernstein, (coeditor of L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E) read poems and discuss the New York School. Lehman recites his poem "Twin Towers", remarkable for its relevance today and for its prescience as he expresses his emotions after the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. Other writers appearing include: Hettie Jones, Jordan Davis, and Bill Morgan.
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