Harry Northup — Poet & Actor

“Poetry Los Angeles,” Laurence Goldstein’s superb assemblage of poems that focus on some aspect of Los Angeles, has already gone into a second printing. My hope is that the success of his book will inspire the generation of poets born in the last decade of the past century to undertake their own versions of Goldstein’s project in the second quarter of this century. One of the poets who will be an essential contributor to those future anthologies is Harry Northup, whose career as a character actor has made every film he has appeared in all the better for the craft he brings to each role. The amount of work that goes into preparing for a few minutes of presence in a film is hardly ever visible to those of us in a darkened multiplex (or if we’re lucky, at a full-scale venue such as the Art Theater in Long Beach). Charlotte H N Cooper has conducted a recent interview with Harry Northup that provides concrete instances of the labor that the craft of acting in movies requires. The interview is framed by a deceptively piquant anecdote. Here is the link:

“Take a ride with Harry Northup”: Charlotte H N Cooper interviews Harry Northup:

With Harry Northup’s generous permission, I also include in today’s posting another one of his poems, “Sainted Ears,” that first appeared in his own blog.


Sainted Ears

The loss has been a great
lions & mountains
blessings, notions, nights among
A river in moonlight through

The loss has been sunlight
marshes, movies
Favoritism spurs loss
A tall tree alone in light
like a school girl dressed
waiting for approval

No longer heart
No beating but reassuring
Set table waiting for reunion
A scratch on the floor

The loss has been reassuring
for one spectacular reason:
No demand no hurry

Loss dresses alone
Does not travel in a herd

Loss forgives
like clothespins
Joyous reunion with function

Cannot drive alone
Forgives beehive
Reads by bus light

Enough skittle skattle
Splitting force combine cuts
Twins befriends
Nest when light opens

Circle & light
Darkness rushes
For to find would resemble
A viewing within spinning

Light heart & hand
To be under shadow in light

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Harry E. Northup

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