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Directing Herbert White: Poems Paperback – March 18, 2014
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“Franco's bold and magnetic examination of life in the mirrored hall of make-believe and fame taps deeply into our collective mythology.” ―Booklist
“The stories in Directing Herbert White disconcert and titillate, they swagger and collapse, andthey explore what it feels like to be a character. How did we get to be this way? is the unspoken question--weird, ugly humans, on and off stage, trying and failing? Franco's poems are brave and whip-like, and in the center of their mirrored labyrinth, they house and refine a vulnerable, curious, and very distinct poetic sentience.” ―Tony Hoagland
“A star-studded cast moves like ghosts across the screen of James Franco's poetic consciousness, imbuing the writing with scenes of icons who are also humans replete with sorrow and presence in our own psyches. James Dean, Monica Vitti, Catherine Deneuve, Sal Mineo, Heath Ledger pass and fade. The author has a wonderful self-reflexive insouciance about his own fame and roles inhabited, from Hart Crane to Allen Ginsberg to Harvey Milk's lover. Franco is a gifted contemporary Renaissance kind of guy, surveying the waterfront of illusion, suffering, and impermanence. We leave the movie theater a little wiser.” ―Anne Waldman
“There's never been a book quite like this. Hollywood--fame, celebrity, the promise of becoming an artist--is the beast at its center. Franco knows it like Melville knows whaling. Hollywood in this book devours its young. Obsessed with myths about its own past, it can be survived only by finding a vantage point that is not Hollywood. Bold yet subtle, fearless yet disarming, Franco has made a book you will never forget.” ―Frank Bidart
“Individually and collectively, the poems in James Franco's Directing Herbert White dramatize the fever dream of American celebrity culture while coolly taking that fever's pulse. In a style both direct and elusive, as anguished as it is ironic, Franco shows us what it feels like to be, at one and the same time, looked at and invisible, acting and acted upon. But what makes this book so distinctive and powerful is the disturbing image of ourselves we see reflected back at us from the funhouse mirror of our public fantasies.” ―Alan Shapiro
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Top Customer Reviews
If the objective
of poetry is to
produce emotion in the reader,
can becoming angry
when reading poetry mean
the poetry is successful?
In the context of this volume,
in the loosest
It is not poetry. He has taken bad stories and formatted them into worse poems. The issue I feel that hinders this volume is determining the point where Franco the actor becomes Franco the poet. The two roles seem to be synonymous with each other and this may be a factor that interferes with the volume’s success (from a literary standpoint). This will be my reasoning for referencing various points of cinematic culture in the process of this review to align this review with the tone of the volume.
There are few redeeming qualities in this volume, but 'My Place', 'Utah' and 'Hart Crane’s Tomb' are passable. Not since 'Top Gun' has there been so many homo-erotic undertones to a work, this in itself is no issue but it is delivered in such a way as to force the reader to re-read, not in shock, but simple bewilderment as to Franco’s reasoning for selecting these words other than for shock value; this spills over into homophobic remarks at various points in the volume.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Amazing book written by a very talented man. I got the book used and it looked brand new except for a black line underneath the bottom of the book but that didn't bother me at all.Published 12 months ago by delaila
I'm not sure what initially drew me to James Franco. The man has charisma, but I wanted to sample some of his written work. I started with this, his book of poetry. I'm glad I did. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Steve
Several of the reviews questioned Franco's talent as a poet, considering that his style doesn't seem to follow conventions of poetry. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Gianni Hernandez
James is a very talented, relatable writer he writes in such a raw manner which engulfs my attention throughout.Published 16 months ago by xavianne gruno
James Franco seems to be good at whatever he takes on. The is an interesting book of poems. Some provocative inside Hollywood insights. Sweet little book, easy to read and fun.Published 17 months ago by Richard D. Wuerth