Poems as Short Films: Langston Hughes, Pablo Neruda and More

A few years ago, the genius­es over at Four Sea­sons Pro­duc­tions began shoot­ing evoca­tive short films set to clas­sic poet­ry. 21 fin­ished pieces, a long list of fes­ti­val prizes and a full DVD lat­er, many of their best “poem videos” are now avail­able to watch for free on their YouTube chan­nel.

These short pieces cap­ture the mood, rhythms and mean­ing of a wide range of poet­ic voic­es and styles in imag­i­na­tive ways. Our favorite is the above inter­pre­ta­tion of Langston Hugh­es’ “The Weary Blues,” but there are sev­er­al oth­er excep­tion­al shorts, includ­ing “Only Breath” by the great 13th cen­tu­ry sufi poet Jalal ad-Din Rumi and “100 Love Son­nets IX” by Pablo Neru­da. Note: The Neru­da poems are read in the orig­i­nal Span­ish.

Sheer­ly Avni is a San Fran­cis­co-based arts and cul­ture writer. Her work has appeared in Salon, LA Week­ly, Moth­er Jones, and many oth­er pub­li­ca­tions. You can fol­low her on twit­ter at @sheerly.

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