Poet of Poverty


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Poet of Poverty shares the words of an Irish priest who came to Camden, New Jersey, 40 years ago and never left. They are the extraordinary words of a natural-born poet, Father Michael Doyle, the Poet of Poverty.

Father Doyle's words bear witness to a horrendous crime: the total neglect of America's poorest city, Camden, New Jersey. They began as words written for monthly letters that serve as a lifeline to those who support his Catholic church. But, as a friend once told Doyle, these prose-poem letters are really his ministry.

Using Michael Doyle's letters as its subject, the film is a record of his parish and city -a documentation of the consequences of poverty. Camden, already poor when Doyle arrived, now resembles nothing more than bombed-out urban landscape. "Yet we have to live in the meantime," writes Doyle. And his letters are a testimony to the lives lived amidst urban decay, drug trade, murders, and prostitution. They are also a stark reminder of the lives lived in a dumping ground, filled with everything that the surrounding wealthy communities don't want in their own back yards: sewage, trash, scrap metal, and prisons.

There is anger in Doyle's letters, and sadness and despair.

Published and distributed by Filmakers Library.

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