National Poetry Month Day 11

Day 11 #napomo Werner Herzog in the Amazon, from April Bernard’s Brawl and Jag.

“I say this all

full of admiration for the jungle.

It is not that I hate it —

I love it, but I love it

against my better judgement.”

April Bernard is the rare poet who is brazen enough to quote the master of film observing life (and the vile murderousness of the jungle) and find the poem in it. Werner Herzog in the Amazon draws on the famous interview of Herzog by Les Blank, who documented the making of Fitzcarraldo.

Description of Brawl and Jag from W.W. Norton Site

“April Bernard explores subjects ranging from childhood anger to adult grief, from a museum of skulls to the Western movie genre. By turns playful, sorrowful, and sharp-edged, Brawl and Jag stands as Bernard’s most personal and accessible collection to date.”

“It’s not only my dreams. My belief is that all these dreams are yours as well.” — Werner Herzog in Burden of Dreams

Herzog’s musings on the misery and fornication in the jungle is a masterful and memorable few minutes in Burden of Dreams, which documents the making of Fitzcarraldo, including moving a full-size, 320-ton steamship over a small mountain. The making of Fitzcarraldo was an arduous marathon plagued with difficulties including everything from the original lead actor, Jason Robars, getting sick with dysentery and being forbidden by his doctor from returning, to deteriorating relations with the local Aguaruna, leading to them burning down the film set. The making of Burden of Dreams was, not surprisingly, a trying ordeal too.

“Keeping up with the antics of Herzog and Klaus Kinski (the film’s star) proved difficult for the reserved, introverted Blank. By the last week of production, he was so burnt out that he feared coming out of production ‘like some Viet Nam veterans, horribly calloused.’ He wrote in his journal, ‘I’m tired of it all and I couldn’t care less if they move the stupid ship — or finish the fucking film.’ (Blank quotes from his book, Burden of Dreams: Screenplay, Journals, Reviews, Photographs, 1984, North Atlantic Books) From Wikipedia, on Burden of Dreams

During a scene filmed during a canoe ride, Blank asks Herzog what he’s going to do when the movie is over. He replied:

“I shouldn’t make movies anymore, I should go to a lunatic asylum, right away.”