The Dying Poem
'I don't think for a minute I'm not going to fail at this.The video footage is paused, his face frozen on the screen, eyes lazy, mouth open, one hand reaching in the direction of the camera, a gesture for emphasis. He is saying something passionate, but frozen on the screen it becomes a plea, a beckoning.'
On the afternoon that two tonnes of explosives are set to dismember Toronto's Metropolitan Library, poet Henry Black hides himself away in his favourite wing; when his mangled body is uncovered, there's a book lodged in his chest.
Jay Post, a hapless filmmaker, is hired to chronicle the life, death and writings of the poet. In the process of making his documentary, Jay must try to unravel the threads of Henry's labyrinthine, suicide-obsessed mind with only the poems as tools; he must also contend with two of Henry's sometimes lovers, Luisa, a Mexican violinist, and Dee, a feminist writer now living on a farm in the Annapolis Valley and writing a novel about Catherine the Great.
The Dying Poem will take you through stories within stories in search of the mystery behind Henry's artful suicide. And, in the end, the crossing of paths and the difficulty of speaking about the dead tell us something about the making of art and what art makes of us.