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Directing Herbert White: Poems Paperback – March 18, 2014


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Graywolf Press (March 18, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1555976735
  • ISBN-13: 978-1555976736
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #158,910 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Franco’s commitment to poetry has heretofore been expressed in films. He played Allen Ginsberg in Howl; created and starred in The Broken Tower, a film about Hart Crane; and made a short film based on Frank Bidart’s searing poem about a necrophiliac child-murderer, “Herbert White.” This volume’s title poem is an homage to Bidart, who, like Franco, grew up in California, albeit when, as Franco imagines, being gay was a “secret so dark that he could tell no one.” As in his novel, Actors Anonymous (2013), Franco—protean, determined, sly, and armed with five MFAs, including one in poetry—writes audaciously about the perversities of Hollywood and how it decimates the vulnerable. He portrays such movie-industry casualties as Lindsay Lohan, River Phoenix, and Sal Mineo, and reveals his own grappling with the largesse and absurdities of celebrity and, ultimately, a confusion of selves: “This fake me is louder / Than the real me, and he / Is the one everyone knows.” Franco’s bold and magnetic examination of life in the mirrored hall of make-believe and fame taps deeply into our collective mythology. --Donna Seaman

Review

Praise for Directing Herbert White: 
 
"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

More About the Author

James Franco is an actor, director, screenwriter, and artist. His film appearances include "Milk," "Pineapple Express," the "Spider-Man" trilogy, and upcoming appearances in "Eat, Pray, Love," and "Howl," in which he portrays beat poet Allen Ginsberg. On television, he starred in the critically acclaimed series "Freaks and Geeks." Franco has also written, directed and starred in several short plays, two of which -- "Fool's Gold" and "The Ape" -- he adapted into feature-length films. He also wrote and directed the film "Good Time Max." Franco will be participating in an upcoming gallery show at Deitch Projects in New York, and his writing has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, McSweeney's, and other publications

Customer Reviews

I actually couldn't believe how good this book was.
JP
I highly recommend reading the full poem and the book as well.
Julie Ieraci
I love the way his writing flows and really encapsulates you.
Melissa

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 26 people found the following review helpful By A.Settle on March 23, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Of course I think of James Franco in Spider -Man, Oz the Great and Powerful and SNL and part of me was reluctant to give him any credit as a poet and a writer. I bought his book out of curiosity and found myself reading poem after poem until I had digested them all. I like his free form modernistic style, his honesty and blunt wording. He reveals himself without inhibition and leaves the reader with his essence. I sincerely enjoyed it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By JP on May 20, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I actually couldn't believe how good this book was. At first I wasn't too sure if James Franco
could write so I decided to try his poems first, I was impressed. I might just buy another one of his books.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Emily Monier on April 21, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm trying to read just a few poems at a time, so I don't finish the book too quickly! I already love it! Just as I suspected, James Franco has done an amazing job!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Vanessa Cantero on May 2, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I thoroughly enjoyed these poems. Actor James Franco give insight into his life and the life of Hollywood! Must read!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Alia Tarek Tawfik on May 31, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
he created his own language to make sense of the world around him. a feat of creativity and imagination. i was taken in and i loved it. an escape from the world for a few blissful hours. poetry is more accessible to a mainstream audience if you dont have to decode and decipher it. its masterful, the world of a director put down on paper. you enter the realm and suspend reality for someone else's take on what life is all about.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Melissa Tourville on April 19, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I didn't know what to expect from James Franco. But I enjoyed this book and I am definitely going to read some of his other books.
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By Julie Ieraci on August 9, 2014
Format: Paperback
I dont get why everybody is bagging on this book, its actually quite good. The style is strange, but the words and the images the poems paint in your head are fantastic. The poetry is raw and really evokes emotion and ideas. An example of this is an excerpt from the first poem: Because

Because I played a knight
Because I was handsome,

This was the life I made for myself.

Years later, I decided to look at what I made,
And I watched myself in all the old movies, and I hated the guy I saw

Because he was the one who stayed after I died.

I highly recommend reading the full poem and the book as well.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Pat Mustard on May 4, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Fast,

by Pat Mustard imitating the style of James Franco.

Someone once told you
to slow down
But it wasn't you,
Maybe if you weren't so fast
at learning your craft,
Maybe if you weren't so fast
at honing your skills
Maybe if you weren't so furious
at your inability to slow down
Maybe if you were a little slower
you would still be here,
but
then again maybe living slower
wasn't living at all.
Paul Walker
you fast honest bastard.
3 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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