A new look at a classic of the American heartland, which unraveled the myths about people who lived and died in the supposedly idyllic days of rural America. Director Thomas G. Smith has digitally remastered his original 1976 production, which captured Edgar Lee Masters’ lyrical realism with dramatic readings, authentic settings, and period photography. Smith’s brand-new DVD adds nearly half an hour of new material exploring Masters’ life and works, and includes interviews with John Hallwas, a Masters expert at the University of Western Illinois, and Hilary Masters, Edgar Lee Masters’ son and a professor of English and creative writing at Carnegie-Mellon University.
In “Spoon River Anthology,” Masters probed beneath life’s surfaces to reveal the very human strengths and weaknesses of the people who inhabited his semi-fictional town. Smith’s production, subtitled “Heartland Poetry for a New Age,” shows why “Spoon River” was a major milestone in American literature – a book of poetry that was a national best-seller, and that still resonates nearly a century after its publication. DVD includes text versions of 11 poems. Click on the text version to go directly to the dramatic reading.
50 minutes • Color