Monday, 29 April 2013

Y is for Yawp

One of my favourite films is Dead Poets Society. It stars Robin Williams at his mercurial best, firing one liners  at a rate of knots. It's wonderful stuff. I remember going to see it in the cinema on my own as a 17 or 18 year old. I laughed like a drain all the way through and then at the end (slight spoiler alert) I cried like a child into my enormous casket of popcorn. On my own in a packed cinema.

I remember watching that film, wide eyed and revelling in the sheer joy of young schoolboys discovering poetry and words through the guidance of Williams' Keating. I think now, that the film sometimes is a little cloying and forceful at times. It's screaming out "Love words! Love Literature! Love Poetry!". It's doing it's best to get you to pay attention to the script first and the action second. It's ham handed, but it's heart was in the right place. If you haven't seen it, make sure you do. You will be quoting Walt Whitman for days afterward.

In the scene below, Williams cajoles stream of consciousness poetry from one of his pupils Todd (played by a young Ethan Hawke) who forgets to finish his homework assignment. Starting the exercise with the Walt Whitman quote "I sound my barbaric yawp over the rooftops of the world."

The word "yawp" is wonderfully onomatopoeic. It is the sound. Every now and then, you need to do one. I find it empties the head and gets me to a place where I can write more clearly and get to the crux of things. 

Rocco's Random Number is 549 which will take you to Commonweeder. It's pretty cool.

Rock on,



  1. One of my favorite scenes in one of my favorite films. I cry a lot at the end. Every time I see it.

  2. I've never seen it, but always intend to...never seem to find that "hows about I cry all afternoon" kind of day!


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