Last week, The Atlantic published an excellent essay about the 1989 film Dead Poets Society, and what a terrible job it does representing the humanities. It’s definitely recommended reading, particularly if you have foggy memories of the film from your youth, as I do. Writer and literature professor Kevin J.H. Dettmar satisfyingly expresses his anger at the poor representation that film offers his little-understood, much-underestimated profession.
However, for all that’s good in that essay, he misses (indeed, he kind of participates in) the thing that bothers me the most about Dead Poets Society.
My biggest problem with the movie is glaring right there in the title. People, even a lot of people who claim to love poetry, have a tendency to treat it as something dead. Specifically, as something that dead white men did (with a tiny space usually carved out for Dickinson). "Thoreau, Whitman, Shelley, the biggies," says Mr. Keating (Robin Williams). Nothing wrong with those writers, but f...
Switchback Books will be in Seattle for AWP 2014! Mark your calendars and join us at our off-site event with Coconut Poetry and Les Figues Press on Thursday, February 27th!
Switchback authors Jessica Bozek and Jennifer Tamayo are reading, along with Gatewood Prize 2012 Winner, Stefania Heim (A Table That Goes on for Miles), and Gatewood Prize 2013 Winner, Morgan Parker (Other People's Comfort Keeps Me Up At Night).