4 Rom-Com and Poetry Pairings for Your Next Movie Night
One of the best aspects of the poetry genre is how easy and enjoyable it is to revisit. While readers might wait a while to reread their plot-driven fiction favorites, the imagery and emotion of poetry collections make them endlessly re-readable. Similarly, whenever you don’t know what to watch, there’s a good chance you opt to rewatch your favorite rom-com. Romantic comedies have become just as much of a classic as poetry, often incorporating familiar forms, self-referential qualities, and vivid, specific settings. Both rom-coms and poetry can awaken some of our strongest emotions and speak to universal, timeless themes. The next time you have a rom-com movie night, cozy up with one of our suggested poetry pairings the next morning.
1. 10 Things I Hate About You and The Collected Poems by Sylvia Plath
Perhaps the most iconic modern-day Shakespeare interpretation yet, 10 Things I Hate About You adapts The Taming of The Shrew in a ’90s high school setting. But that’s not the movie’s only literary allusion—intellectual and edgy main character Kat Stratford is regularly seen curled up with a book, and the film’s most pivotal moment culminates in Kat reading her own confessional poem in English class. Kat reads The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath’s beloved foray into fiction, but poetry lovers can channel similar themes by picking up Plath’s collected poems. Like 10 Things I Hate About You, Plath’s work often contends with the dark emotions, pressures, and standards of womanhood, as well as coming-of-age.
2. The Princess Diaries and the princess saves herself in this one by Amanda Lovelace
Almost every rom-com lover can quote The Princess Diaries and has likely wanted to reenact the beloved scene of Mia and her mom tossing darts at paint-filled water balloons. Behind all of the humor and makeover montage scenes, The Princess Diaries also provides an unexpectedly bold and feminist re-envisioning of fairytale tropes. Think Mia arriving at the ball in jeans and a hoodie, or Mia and Queen Clarisse bonding over arcade games and corndogs. Amanda Lovelace’s bestselling the princess saves herself in this one takes a like-minded approach, juxtaposing classic fairytale symbolism with modern-day reality to emphasize women’s strength and resilience.
3. You’ve Got Mail and Poetry in Motion: 100 Poems from the Subways and Buses
No rom-com roundup would be complete without mention of screenwriter Nora Ephron or actress Meg Ryan. Both showcase some of their best work in You’ve Got Mail, a film that illustrated the need to support indie bookstores even before the rise of Amazon. While many of the shots in You’ve Got Mail take place in the protagonist’s cozy bookshop, public transit also stands out as a common, cinematic setting. Seeing Meg Ryan on the subway wearing a chunky sweater and reading an email from Tom Hanks is just one of the many aspects of You’ve Got Mail that makes it a quintessential New York film. Poetry in Motion: 100 Poems from the Subways and Buses is also an ode to New York that feels at once nostalgic and timeless, with poets writing about the city from the lens of public space and their commutes.
4. Legally Blonde and Platinum Blonde by Phoebe Stuckes
Think of the epitome of blonde and you’ll likely think of Elle Woods, the main character of Legally Blonde who brought her pink, scented resume, adorable chihuahua, and amazing analytical skills and work ethic to the halls of Harvard Law School. Though Woods succeeds in law school and has become a force of positive representation, it’s obvious that the movie was pushing back against major, real-life stereotypes. Platinum Blonde, the debut collection from award-winning poet Phoebe Stuckes, does the same. The collection is a series of persona poems written from the perspective of a blonde, “wise-cracking party girl,” with each poem considered an episode in the character’s life. Through these poems, Stuckes makes powerful arguments about loneliness, trauma, and self-image.
Looking for more movie and poetry pairings? Check out our recent recs for Barbie-related reads.