A Student Lament for a Movie Tradition
Journalism exercise produces a sonnet about Toronto’s independent movie theatres
by Ellen Moorhouse
On the last day of her specialized reporting class at the University of Guelph-Humber, Parkdale resident and long-time Revue customer Kimberley Noble decided to challenge her third-year journalism students with an in-class assignment: Write a piece of journalistic poetry.
Students had been instructed to choose a topic and submit it before they learned what form the exercise would take. Noble first introduced them to the work of Calvin Trillin for NPR and John Allemang for the Globe and Mail. She then told them to take a stab at turning their topic into a poem and hand it in by the end of the 90-minute class. She didn’t care what kind of poetry they wrote, whether haiku or rhyming, so long as it followed a conventional poetic form.
Imagine her surprise to find a reference to the Revue Cinema in student Jason Marshall’s poem on the topic: Why Toronto and other large cities need to steer clear of multiplexes and start supporting and creating independent movie houses.
His choice of poetic form? The English sonnet. Here, with the author’s permission, is his poem:
Ode to the Lost Days of Moviegoing
By Jason Marshall
On wintry aft I travelled to the Beach,
With love in hand to watch a Christmas flick,
Yet not another sat beside us each
No corn in hand, no drinks, no lic’rice stick.
Why no one else enjoys this, I don’t know,
Revue, The Bloor, The Fox, and all the rest
Have fans for sure, but bus’ness must be slow,
Compared to ’plexes, spanning east to west.
I’ve seen the screens come crashing to the ground
Of those who care not to remember days
When friends and fam’ly watched The Wiz,
With smiles, with songs, no cares,
no qualms, no haste
No oversizéd seats, no luxury,
Just that of love and laughs and memory.