Announcing ROBERT BLY: A Thousand Years of Joy the first film to explore key chapters in Robert Bly’s long and prolific life - as poet, translator, mythologist, social activist and gadfly. Robert Bly’s work has nourished our cultural landscape for over half a century. A farmer’s son, a graduate of Harvard, a Navy veteran, Robert Bly’s long reach across American culture began in the 1950’s with publication of his influential literary journal, The Fifties. Its pages contained the work of emerging poets now familiar – Donald Hall, James Wright, Gary Snyder and numerous others. At the same time, Bly began translating poets now recognized as among the greatest in the world. In 1969, he translated Spanish poet Juan Ramon Jimenez, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1956. Bly followed with translations of three more Nobel Prize winners: Pablo Neruda in 1967 (with James Wright), Vincente Aleixandre in 1977 (with Lewis Hyde) and in 1970, Bly translated the 2011 prizewinner Tomas Transtromer.
In 1968, Bly won the National Book Award for his powerful antiwar collection, The Light Around the Body. Later, having studied the works of Carl Jung, Joseph Campbell and others, led in the 1990‘s to finding fresh language to talk about masculinity in his surprise international bestseller Iron John. The book would go on to be translated into fifteen languages and inspire a vigorous movement to re-imagine masculinity. Robert’s encouragement of fellow poet Coleman Barks to translate Rumi landed the great Persian mystic firmly in our cultural waters.
For decades, Robert Bly has done the hard spadework to lift morale in unsettling times. A Thousand Years of Joy will explore the many roads Bly has traveled in pursuit of self-awareness, beauty-making and social responsibility. Participants taking part include Gary Snyder, Galway Kinnell, Jane Hirshfield, Michael Meade, Philip Levine, Caroline Casey, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Donald Hall, Bill Moyers, Coleman Barks, Naomi Shihab Nye, Lewis Hyde, Mark Rylance, Peter Coyote, John Densmore and others.
Bonus features on the DVD will include never seen before readings and interviews, rants and musings, and all the spirited ruminations of this man of many masks and accomplishments.
Award-winning director Haydn Reiss has brooded over Robert Bly as poet
and prophet for twenty years. His observations can be seen in: William Stafford & Robert Bly: A
Literary Friendship (1994), Rumi:
Poet of the Heart (1998) and Every
War Has Two Losers (2009).