The Cultural Gutter

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Appreciating Westerns and Poetry

Posted November 4, 2012

“Many decades ago I took a class in English Romantic poetry from a professor who made the peculiar claim that anyone who wants to understand poetry should read or watch Westerns.” Bill Ott writes of appreciating the poetry of Westerns.


2 Responses to “Appreciating Westerns and Poetry”

  1. Mentor
    November 4th, 2012 @ 1:36 am

    I’m part of a film club “roundtable”. We spent a year watching nothing but film noir. As many as we could find. It was intense but incredibly fun. When it was over, the majority wanted to do the same thing with Westerns. While I had a few Westerns that were near and dear to my heart (Big Country, Good, Bad and the Ugly, Red River)I always considered the genre the least complex and kind of boring. But I hunkered down and took part. It was an amazing experience.

    I was wholly unprepared for how much fun the genre was and equally surprised at how many westerns would end up on my all time favorites list by the time the roundtable ended. I was also surprised at how so many westerns from the 40s and 50s were actually noir with a western setting and how similar the two genres were in many ways(sometimes even using the same scripts and director as was the case with Raoul Walsh and High Sierra and Colorado Territory).

  2. Carol Borden
    November 7th, 2012 @ 5:10 pm

    i had a similar experience. i spent years kind of disdaining westerns. then secretly liking sergio leone’s westerns. now i just love so many of them and i’m always finding new ones and new directors. your point about westerns and noir is a really interesting one. thank you!

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