Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Denis Leary, Poetry Fan?

I've noticed that there are crossroads in various places between stand-up comedy and poetry. I've come across a number of poets who when they read their poems attempt to crack up their audience with their wit and delivery. Poets like Billy Collins and Thomas Lux weave humor into their poetry like it's the most natural thing in the world. My friend Ron Self, Columbus, GA attorney and poet, has this flare for comedy in his poems. Another friend of mine, stand-up comic, Joe Bronzi used to write brilliant poems; he still writes incredible dialogue in his scripts. As far as I can tell, poetry and stand-up comedy go well together. Both arts are language driven. Word choice, rhythm and style of diction have everything to do with it. You must love language to be good at either craft. So I wasn't too shocked to read in a recent interview published in the Chicago Tribune that, actor/comedian, Denis Leary is an avid poetry reader.

Q:So when you put your book on your bookshelf, what else is there?

Denis Leary:I've always been a fan of poetry. People may be surprised by that. Early in college [Emerson College in Boston], I had a huge crush on this poetry teacher ... that probably helped.

And also a plethora of sports books and history books, biographies. Any book about the Boston Red Sox, any baseball writing—it's the most prosaic thing in the world. I like Hemingway. But if there was a Hemingway book and the Robert Creamer book on Babe Ruth—I've read that book about three or four times—that's the one I'm going to pick up.

Q:What poetry's on your shelf?

Denis Leary:Tom Lux and [former U.S. Poet Laureate] Charles Simic and Bill Knott. Tom Lux and Bill Knott taught at Emerson College. I'm not really a classical guy because I grew up in the city. I actually don't get Shakespeare. I would never be able to perform Shakespeare. Scorsese's films "Taxi Driver" and "Mean Streets"—that's the first time I saw guys in the movies who I felt like I grew up with them. That's like my Shakespeare.

Q:As a college student, you had two poems published in the distinguished poetry magazine Ploughshares [published by Emerson College]. Does it help your comedy writing that you once wrote poetry?

Denis Leary:It's the rhythm of it. I just learned this whole thing about rhythm, listening to these teachers talk about it.

For the entire article http://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/chi-denis-leary-1208dec08,0,6606675.story


Anonymous said...

i notice your link "labels" for this entry don't include me,

although i'm the only one of those names who has a blog,

and on my blog i've posted all my poetry, and all my books can be downloaded as pdfs for FREE via my blog——

Lux and those others don't give their poetry books away free, only i do that——

bill knott

Keith Badowski said...

Hey Bill,
Sorry about that!
You are now linked!
Peace in Poetry,