Tess Gallagher thanked in “Birdman” acceptance speech

“Birdman” won Oscars tonight for Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Picture. It was a pleasure to hear Alejandro González Iñárritu acknowledge in his third and final acceptance speech of the evening that one portion of the screenplay was not completely original. “I want to thank Tess Gallagher,” he said, “for letting us use Raymond Carver’s story.” This may be the first time that two American poets have been mentioned in the acceptance speech for “Best Picture of the Year.” Both Gallagher and Carver well deserve to have their names included in that appreciation list. I remember seeing Gallagher read her poetry in New York City in October, 1977. She was one of the most radiant young poets I had ever seen in my life. Within a month, she met Raymond Carver, with whom she savored the final decade of his life. I never knew Carver personally, but by all accounts he took more chances with his ability to function as a writer than most writers would ever volunteer for. The bristling perfume of her poetry no doubt helped sustain him. It’s gratifying to hear poets acknowledged for being able to contribute to work at the highest possible level of recognition in cinema.

Linda and I were very pleased to see awards also given to “The Imitation Game” for “Best Adapted Screenplay.” The acceptance speech for “Best Song” for “Glory” was also a stirring and bracing moment.

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