Jean Cocteau’s poem to Orson Welles
While re-reading Jeanne Moreau's poem on Welles, I began thinking about other poets who have written about Welles, and felt it might be interesting to post some of these poetic pieces as well. So upcoming will be pieces by Patti Smith and Welles own daughter, Chris Welles Feder, with any additional suggestions being most welcome. And as can be seen from Welles quote below (from a 1958 article he wrote for the International Film Annual), he obviously considered himself to be a poet with his camera.
A film is never really good unless the camera is an eye in the head of a poet. Distributors, naturally, are all of the opinion that poets don't sell seats. They do not discern whence comes the very language of the cinema. Without poets, the vocabulary of the fim would be far too limited ever to make a true appeal to the public. The equivalent of a babble of infants would not sell many seats. If the cinema had never been fashioned by poetry, it would have remained no more than a mechanical curiosity, occasionally on view like a stuffed whale.
--Orson Welles, Ribbon of Dreams
Jean Cocteau's poem for Welles:
Orson Welles is a poet
through his violence
and through his grace.
Never does he tumble
from the tightrope
on which he crosses cities
and their dramas.
He is a poet too in the
Loyal friendship he bears
our dreams and our struggles.
Others will know better than I
how to praise his work.
I content myself with sending him
my fraternal greeting.
His handshake is as firm as he is
and I think of it each time my work
obliges me to leap over an obstacle.