Pull up a chair, sit back, and relax, because the show is about to begin! Today, we’ll be exploring all the ways that movies and poetry overlap, from quotes used in movies to entire films based on a poem. So pop some popcorn and let’s get started!
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Movies are a wonderful way to light up our imagination and take us to far-off worlds. Billy Collins’ poem, “The Movies,” perfectly illustrates the wonder and excitement of watching a movie. He writes:
I want to watch it lying down
with the bed hitched up to the television
the way they'd hitch up a stagecoach
to a team of horses
so the movie could pull me along
the crooked, dusty road of its adventures.
Imagine the movie tugging you along on a bumpy, dusty stagecoach ride. What an image! You can read the rest of Billy Collins’ poem here.
Now, let’s take our teatime to the movies with these ideas for decorations, treats, and more!
All great movies start with a great set. Create a worthy setting with these ideas:
- Red all over: Create the effect of a movie theater by using a long sheet of red butcher paper as a “red carpet,” or drape red blankets, sheets, tablecloths around your living room for a touch of theater.
- Did you know that Italian opera houses were decorated in red and gold during the Renaissance? The association with luxury and grand performances make red a popular theater color even today. Also, with modern science we know that red has the longest wavelength of any color. That means it’s ideal for movie theaters because it absorbs most light rather than reflecting it.
- Walk of fame: You’ll need gold paper and scissors for this decoration. Cut the paper into stars and write each person’s name on them. Be sure to put them on a prominent part of the floor for your own “walk of fame”!
- Bonus: Decide what each person in your family would be famous for. What movie would they love to act in and what role would they play?
- Props and more: Movies are all about the props, costumes, and details that make the movie come to life. Bring an object that reminds you of a movie (or, if you have it, objects or costumes from the movie)!
Food and Film
- Popcorn: Of course, no movie night is complete without some popcorn. If you’re sick of the same old tried and true, try…
- Chasing the stars: Keep the food arrangements theatrical by displaying your snacks (veggies, crackers, cookies, or whatever you have) in star-shaped arrangements. You can even cut slices of cheese into stars or bake star-shaped cookies!
- Eating the movies: Can you think of movies you love with delicious food? Maybe the food in Ratatouille or breakfast in Howl’s Moving Castle? Create some teatime snacks based on your favorite film and serve it during teatime! For some inspiration, check out this list of food in movies from Martha Stewart or our very own Hobbit teatime.
- Watch a movie: It wouldn’t be a movie-themed teatime without watching a movie! Here are a few suggestions of movies based on poems to watch:
- Dr. Seuss movies: So many Dr. Suess books have been turned into movies! Take a look at both the movie and book and see what you like about each one: How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966 movie, book), Horton Hears a Who! (movie, book), The Lorax (movie, book)
- Mulan: watch the movie, and be sure to compare it to the original Chinese legend in The Ballad of Mulan: Bilingual Chinese-English Edition by Song Nan Zhang
- O Brother, Where Art Thou?: loosely based on the Odyssey (translated by Robert Fagles), this movie is an original interpretation set in the American South and best for teens and up.
- Write your own poetry: Create poetry about your favorite movies! Do you think Legolas needs an ode in his honor? How about a dramatic monologue about Spiderman? Pick your favorite character and get started!
Poetry to Read or Movies to Watch
There is a wide world out there of movies with poetry and poems about movies. Take a look at some of the suggestions below!
- Poetry in Movies list: Discover where your favorite poems are quoted, or find a movie you love and see if it has any poetry in it! This list from Poets.org is always expanding, so check back for more in the future.
- Lights, Camera, Poetry! American Movie Poems, the First Hundred Years, edited by Jason Shinder
- All Movies Love the Moon: Prose Poems on Silent Film, by Gregory Robinson
- “The Movies” by Billy Collins
- “Charlie Chaplin Impersonates a Poet” by Cornelius Eady
- Video of “Nothing Gold Can Stay” by Robert Frost, in the Outsiders