Compelling and award-winning writer and director, Edoardo Ponti, best known for "Between Strangers" and "Coming & Going," has painted a beautiful picture of parenthood in his book of poetry titled, "Letters from A Young Father."
The poems take you on the forty-week journey of pregnancy and preparing for a child. Each poem is titled by week from early "Week 3 (At home, watching the leaves)" to "Week 40 (In the waiting Room with both grandmothers)."
BUILD Series NYC had the privilege to speak with Ponti, who gave us more insight into his creative process and explained the inspiration behind "Letters from a Young Father."
The book happened by accident, Ponti confessed to us.
"I started writing a poem a week during the 40 weeks of my wife's pregnancy with my first child. And I didn't even know I was going to do that; I just started," he explained. "I put the poems in a drawer for years until one day David St. John, the wonderful poet and friend of mine, came to my house for lunch and for some reason I pulled out the manuscript and I gave it to him to leave to read -- really, just as a friend -- and he came back to me a few weeks later and asked me if I didn't mind him sending it out to certain publishers."
Like the verses in his book, Ponti even spoke poetically -- both grounded and vulnerable -- about "Letters from a Young Father" and his love for the art form.
"It's an instruction manual for life in a sense. When my wife was pregnant with our first born, I always wrote poetry," he said. "I started writing poetry before I could write in a sense. I always used poetry to make sense of life. When life gets complicated, poetry simplifies things. It's like a relation of thoughts and feelings in one's head and one's heart, and this helps drain that. It helps manifest all of these feelings on a page so you don't have to carry them."
Ponti is clearly no stranger to the creative process, as he has written and directed several films including "Between Strangers," which starred his mother, Sophia Loren. Ponti shared with us his approach to both filmmaking and poetry and explained how they are surprisingly very similar.
"Poetry, actually, comes the closest to making film, more than even writing stories because the thing that is in common is the fact that both in film and in poetry, we focus on details and we create moments," he said. "And one detail, one moment, one look between two people can fill ten minutes of film. And it's the same thing in poetry. In poetry, we drill down detail and we get into the atomic level of moments."
"I think that life is a mosaic of all these different colors and, in order to have a good life, what you have to run away from is trying to be perfect, because perfection will ruin any chance you might have at having a good life," he went on. "So, instead of trying to be the perfect father, the perfect mother, the perfect parent, the perfect person -– just be a good person. If you are a good person every time that you come to a decision or choice, you will take the one that is the right one for you and one that is motivated not by the vanity and the greed of being perfect, but actually the generosity of being a good person."
"Letters from a Young Father" is available now. A perfect read and an opportunity for introspection for any daughter, son, parent, soon-to-be parent, and those with the hope to be one.