Robert Bly: A Thousand Years of Joy
Directed by Haydn Reiss
“A Thousand Years of Joy” charts poet/activist Robert Bly’s journey from Midwestern farm boy to global troubadour, best-selling author of Iron John and leader of the men’s movement. Poet Robert Bly stands out even among the celebrated, revolutionary generation of American artists who burst forth in the 1950s. “A Thousand Years of Joy” charts Bly’s singular path from farmer’s son on a wintry Minnesota farm to radical anti-Vietnam War activist to wild man of the 1990’s men’s movement. The bespectacled, white-haired Bly is every inch the politically and spiritually engaged mystic, seeking each moment’s fervid heart as well as the eternal, intuitive bedrock beneath our cultivated ideologies and “personas.” He was one of the first to translate Pablo Neruda, Rumi and other ecstatic Sufi poets, and his work with Joseph Campbell—exploring the metaphorical, psychological terrain of myth and ritual—led to the unexpected pop culture phenomenon of “Iron John.” Like a confounding whirling dervish, Bly’s life embodies the quest for personal honesty and shared truth. Filmed over four years in five states and two countries, the film features international luminaries from the world of culture including James Ragan, Peter Coyote, Coleman Barks, John Densmore, Jane Hirshfield, Garrison Keillor, Martin Sheen, Gary Snyder and of course, Robert Bly himself. With director Haydn Reiss and Poet James Ragan In Person.
Director Haydn Reiss has made a series of documentaries on poets that have aired on PBS, including William Stafford & Robert Bly: A Literary Friendship and the award-winning Rumi: Poet of the Heart. Reiss’ 2009 film, Every War Has Two Losers was a 2011 winner at the Canadian International Film Festival and an official selection of the 2011 United National Film Festival.
Himself: Coleman Barks, Robert Bly
Producer: Dominic Howes
Screenplay: Thomas Lemmer
Editing: Steve Fischer, James Gowdey, Haydn Reiss