America only seems to love its poets if they're mad. Or half-mad. Or dead-drunk. Perhaps that's why the only poets getting big screen-time this coming fall are Edgar Allen Poe and Charles Bukowski. Bukowski will be portrayed by Matt Dillon in "Factotum," opening in a few days. And the Poe film, "The Death of Poe," is to open sometime in the fall. Of course, there has also been a lot of stuff about Plath in recent years.
We love our poets suicidal, addicted or loony. But who's making a movie about Billy Collins? I think it would be a real Zen fest, a film about a man who sits in a room scrutinizing his bookcase and plants and writing poems that bend time and space in entirely relativistic ways. I'm serious. A cool movie to be made.
Okay, maybe they did make one tiny little film about Billy Collins, but can you rent it on Netflix? Forget it. A $45 DVD is available, however, at Amazon of On The Road with the Poet Laureate.
But that was in 2003. How soon they forget.