Eyewear is very pleased to welcome poet and film-maker Stephen Gyllenhaal (pictured) this Friday. He was good enough to fly from LA under his own dime last Christmas to read for Oxfam's series in London, where he caused quite a stir.
As Eyewear often mentions, in the UK, pop culture and poetry culture don't always mix, so his credentials were as much a hindrance as a help to a fair hearing - but the audience was won over, by his charm as a reader, and, more to the point, the seriousness and quality of the writing itself. Ironically, in an age of celebrity writers, this was a writer wanting to move past that, while having to go through it. As such, the work, often political, often trained on the camera eye, or the world it mediates, resonates into a wider sphere of concern.
Raised in Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania and alumnus of Cinestudio/TrinityCollege, Hartford, Connecticut, Gyllenhaal is a film and television director – most notably of Waterland (based on Graham Swift's novel), A Dangerous Woman (with children Jake and Maggie in supporting roles), and Twin Peaks.
His poetry has been published in Prairie Schooner, Nimrod, and Apalachee Review, among other such places. He divides his time between Martha's Vineyard and Los Angeles. Claptrap: Notes from Hollywood (Cantarabooks 2006) is his first collection of poems.
Land of the Free
Can't disney this away,
can't prozac it back
into the warm sofa
of this once obedient chest.
The grand chandelier
that's turning like a satellite
demanding utter allegiance
and the closer attention
that should have been paid
to grammar, to the names
and statistics of all
has lost its grip
on the color pink
for the space between
the first and second
poem by Stephen Gyllenhaal, from Claptrap: Notes from Hollywood
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