"If a Country Loses Its Poems, It Loses Its Soul": A Video Interview with Singer Dar Williams and Poet Spencer Reece
Reece made somewhat of a splash about ten years ago when his poem "The Clerk's Tale" appeared in the New Yorker; it’s about a man who works in Brooks Brothers in the Mall of America (as Reece himself did), and it became the title poem of his award-winning collection. He has since been ordained as an Episcopal priest, and "The Clerk's Tale" has been made into a short film directed by actor James Franco.
Reece currently has a Fulbright grant to teach poetry to girls in an orphanage in Honduras. Simultaneously, a feature-length documentary is being made about his work there. It’s executive-produced by James Franco and will have original music by Dar Williams.
It turns out Williams and Reece went to the same college, where they met in a play, then fell out of touch and and were reunited years later at one of her shows. The video (in two parts; the second part is here) touches on some interesting subjects, including friendship, creativity, activism, and spirituality.
"Art and service . . . are intertwined—if you're lucky," Williams says in the interview.
Says Reece, for whom poetry is the service he's bringing to the orphaned girls in Honduras: "If a country loses its poems, it loses its soul."
You might say the same thing about songs.