Syllabus: Sonnets and Cinema

Scott Woods

Feb 02, 2024

Collaged stills from the films Piñero, Poetry, and SlamNation.

A reading guide for our February series on poetry in film, courtesy of guest curator Scott Woods. Titles are now available at the Wexner Center Store.

Immerse yourself in a wide range of companion reads before the series launches! 

I really tried to ensure that every book was expanding the experience of the Sonnets and Cinema films. Between the films, my introductions, the live poetry openers, and these books, you're getting a great chance to play in the world of poetry.

Because SlamNation is one of the films, I really dipped into the early day poets for these selections, with a tip of the hat to some more recent poets. Know your roots!

I also wanted to put a couple of things in there for people who might be interested in doing poetry events. Learn your craft!

The Syllabus

Two shelves filled with poetry books.
  • Ch'oe Sung-ja, Kim Hyesoon, and Yi Yon-ju, Anxiety of Words: Contemporary Poetry by Korean Women
  • Louise Robertson, The Naming Of 
  • Miguel Piñero, Outlaw: The Collected Works of Miguel Piñero and Short Eyes
  • Pedro Pietri, Pedro Pietri: Selected Poetry
  • Urayoán Noel, In Visible Movement: Nuyorican Poetry from the Sixties to Slam
  • Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz, Words in Your Face
  • Marc Kelly Smith, Stage a Poetry Slam
  • Gary Max Glazner, Poetry Slam: The Competitive Art of Performance Poetry
  • Aloud: Voices from The Nuyorican Poets Cafe, edited by Miguel Algarin & Bob Holman
  • Marc Kelly Smith, Ground Zero
  • Beau Sia, Well Played
  • Saul Williams, US (a.)
  • Patricia Smith, Unshuttered, Blood Dazzler, and Incendiary Art
  • Jessica Care Moore, We Want Our Bodies Back
  • Rachel McKibbens, blud
  • Anis Mojgani, The Tigers, They Let Me
  • Andrea Gibson, You Better Be Lightning
  • Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz, Everything is Everything
  • Taylor Mali, What Learning Leaves
  • Buddy Wakefield, A Choir of Honest Killers
  • Danez Smith, Bluff
  • Franny Choi, The World Keeps Ending, and the World Goes On
  • Jack McCarthy, Say Goodnight, Grace Notes: New and Corrected Poems and Allow The Light: The Lost Poems of Jack McCarthy
  • Bob Holman, The UnSpoken: Bob Holman and the UnSpoken Word Movement
  • William Evans, We Inherit What the Fires Left: Poems

Extra credit!

  • Slam, edited by Richard Stratton and Kim Wozencraft
  • Erotique Noire/Black Erotica, edited by Miriam Decosta-Willis, Reginald Martin, and Roseann P. Bell
  • Colson Whitehead, The Colossus of New York
  • Poetry on Record: 98 Poets Read Their Work (audio)


Top of page, from left: Piñero, courtesy of Paramount Pictures; Poetry, courtesy of Film Movement; SlamNation, courtesy of Paul Devlin.

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