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15. september 2020
Thomas Thurah
Blog om litteratur

Something Wonderful May Happen

Something Wonderful May Happen (direction: Lars Movin & Niels Plenge; production & interview: Thomas Thurah) (2001)

In the years after World War II the American East Coast saw a new generation of poets and artists, fuelled by a strange mix of optimism and desillusion, fresh energy and dissatisfaction with the prevalent materialism and conformism of the time.
On the art scene the New York School of Painters manifested a powerful breakaway from the European traditions. And soon they were followed by af group of writers - headed by such young talents as John Ashbery, Kenneth Koch, Frank O'Hara and James Schuyler. The poets were published in the early fifties by John Bernard Myers, director of Tibor de Nagy Gallery. And it was also Myers who in 1961 suggested the name 'New York School of Poets'. The often playful poetry of the New York School Poets was both serious and humorous, and in general it didn't shy away from common language and clichés. Today, almost fifty years later, some of the members of the original group are considered to be among North America's most important poets. In Something Wonderful May Happen the New York School Poets John Ashbery and Kenneth Koch talk about their poetics and read from their works, and Frank O'Hara (1926-66) is appearing in archive footage. David Lehman - author of The Last Avant-Garde. The Making of the New York School of Poets (1998) - and writer Bill Morgan tell their history. Finally younger collegues such as Language Poet Charles Bernstein and poet Jordan Davis comment on the influence of the New York School.
Also the strong connections between the writers and the visual artists of the generation are touched upon in interviews with painters Jane Freilicher and Larry Rivers, and painter/filmmaker Alfred Leslie, editor of the one-shot anthology The Hasty Papers (1960).