The temptation has always been there for film makers to dramatize the lives, and the deaths, of poets becuase their lives and deaths are often, well, so damned dramatic. Now we even have proof that poets tend to check out before their reservation is up. There is a paradox for studios to wrestle with however, in that with most cases the lives of the writer was often more entertaining than the works, and this manages to keep a wider audience at bay.
Last year's "Sylvia" had Gyneth in the lead but let's face it, Ms. Plath's outlook (we'll call it somber) obviously kept marketing wags from convincingly calling the film the "Feel-good story of the season." Cuban Poet Reinaldo Arenas as well met an early exit, but even though "Before Night Falls" made a name for Javier Bardem the film didn't make much money. "The Hours" could be pointed to as an exception here, except that the perishing Virginia Woolf was a novelist, but Ed Harris played a dying poet opposite Meryl Streep, so maybe it counts.
I wonder if the reason that poets are thought to die younger is due to rap musicians who were gunned down being included in the study. I base this on no proof, I should add. One thing to worry about is this could be dire news for fans of the buxom bard Jewel. I'd hate to think of the bestselling poetess being brought down in her prime, preventing us from enjoying such imagery in passages like “And So to Receive You”:
My breasts are twin moons/two pillows/for your whiskered cheek/a harbor for your teeth/and tongue.
It would be a loss indeed.