Beacon Press: Sweet Movie
Login Cart

Sweet Movie


Author: Alisha Dietzman

“What gives us the right to listen to someone else’s body?”—Alisha Dietzman, from Sweet Movie

A National Poetry Series winner selected by Victoria Chang, Sweet Movie confronts romantic and religious masochism to interrogate spiritual, sexual, and moral agency

Sweet Movie’s love poems and ekphrasis echo splintered versions of the same question: how do we navigate a world where the expectations of our performance—our presentation, our means of existence—are dictated by the viewers themselves?

Mirroring the uncertain, unstable tenor of Dušan Makavejev’s controversial avant-garde film Sweet Movie (1974), the voices in Sweet Movie are equal parts docile, feverish, and violent. This collection reimagines a feminist approach to religious masochism to explore the ways women are denied agency by both their faith communities and by outsiders.

Dietzman’s poems move through locations across Central Europe and the American South. Each new landscape informs the next: Memphis appears in Berlin in the form of a dead deer, and Southern syntax haunts an elegy for Gustavs Klucis.

The inspired poems from Sweet Movie use film and art to break open seeing. What results are deeply insightful and spacious poems of faith, displacement, and love. Perpetually observant, Sweet Movie guardedly but desperately consumes a world that has become unsettling and uncertain.

About the Series

Established in 1978, the National Poetry Series is a literary awards program which sponsors the publication of five books of poetry each year. The manuscripts, solicited through an annual Open Competition, are selected by poets of national stature and published by a distinguished group of trade, university, and small presses.
Bookmark and Share
“The poems in Sweet Movie are wrought with beauty and being in the world.”
—Victoria Chang, from the foreword

“‘I didn’t expect the desert, its longform,’ writes Alisha Dietzman in her lustrous debut Sweet Movie, a collection centered around ekphrasis. TV, movies, the self, even art and religion, serve as mediums on which the speaker casts the light of consciousness in her search for meaning.”
—Quan Barry, author of Auction: Poems

“A taut and haunting book of love and faith when all around us hate and nihilism crowd in.”
—Philip Metres, author of Shrapnel Maps

“Alisha Dietzman is a love poet for the twenty-first century, a fierce, devoted sensualist who feeds on aesthetic experience. . . . Sweet Movie [is] a book on the run—from men, from religion, from family, from legacies of violence against women—and it wants you along for the ride. And it’s thrilling.”
—Katie Peterson, author of Life in a Field: Poems

Foreword by Victoria Chang


Love Poem by the Light of a Documentary About the Polygon Test Site


Nocturne (Slovakia)
Love Poem by the Light of Prague
The Last Judgment—Giotto di Bondone
Healing “Laying On of Hands” Ceremony—Russell Lee
Thou Holdest Mine Eyes Waking
Love Poem by the Light of the Refrigerator
Gosha Rubchinskiy x the Poem
Gosha Rubchinskiy x Timur Novikov
We Did Not Know Much About That City
Dušan Makavejev’s W.R.: Mysteries of the Organism
Love Poem by Train Light


The Margin of a Floating Structure
Love Poem by the Light of Eternity and a Reality TV Show About Love
Stern—Marlene Dumas
Alfa—Marlene Dumas
Lucy—Marlene Dumas


Holy Sonnets
Love Poem by the Light of the Desert
Love Poem by Yellow Light
Two Pale Verses
Dušan Makavejev’s Love Affair, or the Case of the Missing Switchboard Operator
Big Love Vol. 1
Big Love Vol. 2
Big Love Vol. 3
Love Poem Without Light
Love Poem by the Light of the Documentary Holy Ghost People/Ars Poetica
Love Poem by the Light of Something Obvious
The Last Judgment—Giotto di Bondone


You might also be interested in:

Sweet Movie

ISBN: 978-080701328-1
Publication Date: 10/17/2023
Size:5.5 x 8.5 Inches (US)
Price:  $17.00
Format: Paperback
Availability: In stock.