Yesterday in the first-year seminar class I teach, we discussed this Keyframe video essay on The Spielberg Face (based on this article at UGO.com). The essay discusses a signature move that recurs in Spielberg’s work--a dolly shot of a close-up on an actor’s face, eyes wide in wonder and amazement, staring at something off-screen.
The essay celebrates The Spielberg Face, and explores the director’s recent experiments with the execution of this shot. It’s a fun essay, infused with a curious, appreciative spirit (which I always appreciate in analytical work).
It make me wonder about Spielberg Faces in poetry. Often, poems force the reader to look at a scene, idea, or situation (with, yes, wonder--the Oliver face!--or wistfulness, or disgust, or desire). Poems don’t exactly (perhaps they do, inexactly?) show their characters staring back past us at something we cannot yet see. But our response is anticipated by the lines in a poem, especially the ending. Poets stare through their poems, at us, is maybe how it works.
I think of how poems slow their roll as they unfold down the page. Mine frequently do. At readings, I notice how very many of us (myself included!) apply the brakes when we know that the end is coming. The poem is starting to leave the room, is how I hear it. I think of the tapering off and quieting of a line like “blackberry, blackberry, blackberry,” or “though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.” I loved the last lines of this gorgeous Michael Marberry poem, which swing open and closed, open and closed, like saloon doors through which someone (the poem? the poet? the reader?) exits.
What poets do you think should win Best Cinematographer? What signature moves have intrigued you, in poetry or beyond? And what are your thoughts about ending poems, stories, or essays?