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Something Wonderful May Happen

I tiden efter Anden Verdenskrig spirede en ny generation af digtere og kunstnere frem på den amerikanske østkyst. Generationen var drevet af en egenartet blanding af optimisme og desillusion, af ny energi og utilfredshed med periodens fremherskende materialisme og konformisme. Med andre ord: Krigen var slut, men det var ikke alle, der var udelt begejstrede for det, der kom i stedet.
På kunstscenen repræsenterede de såkaldte ‘New York School of Painters’ et kraftfuldt brud med de europæiske traditioner. Og snart fik malerne følgeskab af en gruppe forfattere, hvoraf ikke mindst unge talenter som John Ashbery, Kenneth Koch, Frank O’Hara og James Schuyler kom til at præge den ny tids litteratur.
Flere af digterne blev i første omgang publiceret i starten af halvtredserne af John Bernard Myers, leder af galleriet Tibor de Nagy. Og det var ligeledes Myers, som i 1961 foreslog navnet ‘New York School of Poets’.
Gruppens ofte legende poesi var på én gang seriøs og humoristisk, og generelt led ingen af dens medlemmer af berøringsangst over for hverdagssprog eller klichéer. I dag, omkring halvtreds år senere, regnes flere af New York School-digterne blandt Nordamerikas mest betydningsfulde forfattere.

I Something Wonderful May Happen taler New York School-digterne John Ashbery and Kenneth Koch om poetik og læser fra deres værker, mens Frank O’Hara (1926-66) dukker op i sort/hvide arkivklip. David Lehman – forfatter til The Last Avant-Garde. The Making of the New York School of Poets (1998) – og skribenten Bill Morgan fortæller om gruppens historie. Og yngre kolleger som Charles Bernstein og Jordan Davis kommenterer den indflydelse, New York School of Poets har haft på eftertiden.
Endelig berøres de tætte forbindelser mellem periodens forfattere og billedkunstnere i interviews med malerne Jane Freilicher og Larry Rivers samt maleren og filmmageren Alfred Leslie, redaktør af generationsantologien The Hasty Papers (1960).

Medvirkende: John Ashbery, Charles Bernstein, Jordan Davis, Jane Freilicher, Hettie Jones, Kenneth Koch, David Lehman, Alfred Leslie, Bill Morgan og Larry Rivers.

English:

Something Wonderful May Happen

Lars Movin & Niels Plenge
Denmark, 2001, 57 min.

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 a group of writers – headed by such young talents as John Ashbery, Kenneth Koch, Frank O’Hara and James Schuyler.
The poets were first 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).

With the participation of: John Ashbery, Charles Bernstein, Jordan Davis, Jane Freilicher, Hettie Jones, Kenneth Koch, David Lehman, Alfred Leslie, Bill Morgan and Larry Rivers.

The film contains images of and direct references to the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in Manhattan. It should be noted that the film was shot in the spring of 2001 and completed in August the same year.

Lars Movin & Niels Plenge
Danmark, 2001, 57 min.