Monday, May 17, 2010

Bill Murray Ruins a Dickinson Poem

Lord knows why someone asked Bill Murray to read an Emily Dickinson poem--"I dwell in possibility"--to workers building a Poet's House in Manhattan.  Occasionally his diffident, smart-ass persona lands like a cow-pie on a girder, and this was one of those times:

Murray "Reading" Dickinson

A lot of dynamics here: male Hollywood celebrity in front of male workers; actor not knowing what Dickinson's poetry is; bad idea to have him read; etc.; he thinks he's beneath the task.

So his decision was to read it like a 5th grader who's never seen poetry before, pushing a half-rhyme to be a full-rhyme as if he just discovered Dickinson uses half-rhymes.


And why not select a poem by Langston Hughes, Jim Daniels, or Philip Levine (among many others) that would have riveted, so to speak, the workers?
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