Poets on Film: Rita Dove & Billy Collins

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Join us as SFPL celebrates National Poetry Month with a screening of short documentary films about two famous Poet Laureates of the United States, Rita Dove and Billy Collins.

Rita Dove — An American Poet is a portrait of the African-American poet and essayist who served as the United States Poet Laureate from 1993 to 1995. This eleven-part, hour-long documentary began as a series of conversations with Rita Dove that were conducted and recorded by director Eduardo Montes-Bradley between September 2012 and October 2013. The conversations were later edited and combined with hundreds of still images and several hours of home movies from the Dove family's collection. The intimacy of the film’s dialogue brings a uniquely personal insight into the wide range of Dove's artistic passions. Most of the film’s images are the results of the efforts of Rita Dove's father (Ray A. Dove) to record their family’s life in the 1950s and 1960s.

Billy Collins — On the Road with the Poet Laureate is a humorous, engaging 59-minute documentary about the man who has been called “the first American poet since Robert Frost to enjoy both critical and popular acclaim.” Collins, who served as the United States Poet Laureate from 2001 to 2003, is here shown in a variety of locales and situations. With a film crew trailing him from poetry readings and college classrooms to his home, office, and even into his car, he somehow manages to remain amazingly witty, gracious, and open in discussing his life, his work, and the nature of poetry itself. Students of poetry, and Collins' many fans, will find much here that entertains and illuminates.

National Poetry Month Events at the Main Library:

Poetry in Song Concert. April 2, 6 pm, Latino Hispanic Room. Singers perform art-song arrangements of poetry from around the world.

World Literature Book Club: Spoon River Anthology by Edgar Lee Masters. April 4, 6 pm, Paley Room—3rd Floor.

Celebrating Maya Angelou. April 9, 6 pm, Latino Hispanic Room. SF’s Poet Laureate Kim Shuck hosts a program devoted to the iconic poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou.

Poets on Film: Rita Dove & Billy Collins. April 11, 3 pm, Latino Hispanic Room.

Poem Jam. April 11, 6 pm, Latino Hispanic Room. Poetry reading with SF Poet Laureate Kim Shuck, the Lowell Poetry Club, and special guests.

Open Mic Poetry. April 19, 2 pm, Talking Books and Braille Center. Call 415-557-4253 to sign up.

Forum Magazine Celebrates National Poetry Month. April 24, 5:30 pm, Latino Hispanic Rm.

Tongo Eisen-Martin: The Price of the Ticket. April 25, 6 pm, Koret Auditorium. Poet Tongo Eisen-Martin and Friends.

Poet Rozalie Hirs: Work in Stuttering. April 27, 12 pm, Latino Hispanic Room. Netherlands-based poet and composer Rozalie Hirs presents on poetry and the creative process.

Evening of South Asian-American Poetry. April 30, 5:30 pm, Latino Hispanic Room. With Athena Kashyap, Tanuja Mehrotra Wakefield, and Pulitzer prize-winning journalist Geeta Anand.

This is a Films & Videos program from SFPL. From feature films to youth-made videos, we’ve got something great to watch.

This is a Reading, Writing & Poetry program from SFPL. We love reading/sharing/creating words.

These cultural events are free and open to the public. See More Than a Month for the complete program guide.

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