A TRUE POET
Writer/Director: Matthew Richmond
Producers: Eugene Sun Park, Jacqueline "JJ" Ingram
Genre: Drama, Coming-of-age, Feature
In the early 90s, poetry by Araki Yasusada began appearing in prestigious poetry journals. The author, by then dead, was a Japanese poet who had survived the bombing of Hiroshima and lost most of his family in that event. Yasusada became the hottest voice in poetry. Until, that is, it was found that he had never really existed.
A True Poet is based on this true story, exploring the mystery of Yasusada through the eyes of a young Asian American poet coming of age. Our protagonist, Edgar Riordan, is a kid who has always been different by design; dressing oddly and behaving as he thinks a poet ought to. He’s too cocky and stubborn for college, yet he craves validation in that world.
He discovers Araki Yasusada and becomes fascinated, drawn to him by questions he has about his own background, and the poetry’s resonance with the loss of his adopted father. Edgar’s fascination leads him to seek out Paul Pinkett, Yasusada’s de facto literary executor. Paul, a Spanish teacher at a community college, reluctantly takes on Edgar as a protégé.
When rumors circulate that Yasusada might be a fraud, Edgar at first defends Paul blindly, but then suffers his own doubts and begins to investigate. Edgar finds himself caught in the middle as the story unravels, shaking his faith in Yasusada, and destroying his friendship with Paul. But over the course of that betrayal, Edgar processes emotions he has long held inside, concerning the death of his father, his adoption into a white family, and his place in the world at large.
MATT RICHMOND is a writer and producer for TV, working on shows for CBS, Fox and MTV. He began his career as a reporter and advertising copywriter. His script for A True Poet made him a semifinalist for the Nicholl Fellowship in 2014, placing him in the top 150 out of 7500 submissions. He has directed advertising projects and an award-winning short film called Ukulele Lessons.