Poet Of Poverty

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

Father Doyle bears witness to a horrendous crime: the total neglect of America’s poorest city, Camden, New Jersey. His writing began as monthly letters to those who support his church, but, as a friend once told Doyle, these prose-poem letters are his real ministry.

Using Michael Doyle’s letters (read by Martin Sheen) as its subject, the film is a record of his parish and city – a month after month, year after year documentation of the consequences of poverty. Camden, already poor when Doyle arrived, now resembles nothing more than a bombed-out urban landscape. “Yet we have to live in the meantime,” writes Doyle.

While there is anger, sadness and despair in Doyle’s letters, there is also delight in the community’s small accomplishments and faith in and hope for the children of Camden.

The scenes shown in the film give visual expression to the words written by this poet laureate of poverty.

Directors: Sean Dougherty, Tana Ross, Freke Vuijst
55 min- 2008

Festival screenings:
Philadelphia Film Festival
Hoboken International Film Festival
Berkshire International Film Festival
Belfast Film Festival
International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival – Glasgow