Oregon Movies, A to Z

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John Reed

March 23rd, 2009 by Anne Richardson · No Comments · Oregon writer

In Reds, writer-director-producer-star Warren Beatty zeroed in on a signficant detail. John Reed, who achieved world fame as a journalist, was a frustrated poet.

Throughout much of Red’s 194 minutes, Beatty’s Reed tries and tries to finish a poem to Louise Bryant, his wife.

Perhaps Beatty was thinking of this poem, by Reed.

A Letter to Louise

Rainy rush of bird-song
Apple-blossom smoke
Thin bells water-falling sound
Wind-rust on the silver pond
Furry starring willow wand
Wan new grasses waking round
Blue bird in the oak…
Woven in my word-song

White and slim my lover
Birch-tree in the shade
Mountain pools her fearless eyes
Innocent all-answering
Were I blinded to the Spring
Happy thrill would in me rise
Smiling half afraid
At the nearness of her

All my weak endeavor
Lay I at her feet
Like a moth from oversea
Let me longing lightly rest
On her flower petal breast
Till the red dawn set me free
To be with my sweet
Ever and forever…

Louise Bryant, played in Reds by Diane Keaton, was also from Portland (more precisely, Salt Lake City by way of Portland). Historians agree the scene where Bryant invites Reed to visit her writing studio is largely accurate. Where the invitation was extended is a matter of some dispute. The studio is still standing. It is located across the street from the downtown library, at 1033 SW Yamhill.

Louise Bryant, thinking about John Reed

John Reed, writing about Louise Bryant

Howard Zinn, writing about John Reed

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