Salty Air

Her Poem Becomes A Film—Provincetown 94-Year-Old Loves Town on Cape Cod’s Tip

Written by Laura M. Reckford


PROVINCETOWN -Hilde Oleson started writing poetry at age 83. Now 94, she and her poetry star in a short film featuring one of her poems.

Hilde Oleson, 94, has a new career as a poet.

The film, “My Beautiful Crazy Town,” premiered at the 2017 Provincetown International Film Festival. Directed by David A. Cox, the five-minute film takes viewers on a scenic tour through town with the backdrop being Oleson’s poem, the film’s namesake.

Cox, who also owns a drone company in town, uses his equipment and editing skills to show soaring views of Provincetown, as well as historic and current photos, as Oleson narrates her own poem about the many nuances of the town at the Cape’s tip.

Oleson credits the 33-year-old filmmaker for illuminating her work. “My poem was dead and he brought it to life,” she said.

In a question and answer session after the short film was shown at the film festival, Cox, who has lived in Provincetown for six years, said he has recorded Oleson reading 60 of her poems and he hopes to make additional films, resources permitting.

David A. Cox directed the short film “My Beautiful Crazy Town.”

“My Beautiful Crazy Town” was partially funded through a GoFundMe campaign. According to the website, Cox raised $3,785, surpassing his $2,000 goal during a seven-month fundraising campaign. Fifty-three people contributed.

Oleson said she has lived in Provincetown for 10 years. Before retiring, she worked as a social worker and as a school teacher. Her husband passed on years ago, she said.

After moving to Provincetown, she took two classes which got her started on writing for the first time in her life. Her first time reading her work in class, she said, she kept her head down, hoping no one would hear it. “It was such a shock that everyone loved it,” she said.

Moving to the art colony seems to have inspired her. Since she started writing, she has written dozens of poems. She even wrote a poem about how the town inspires people. It is called, “It must be the air.”

After a screening of a short film featuring her, Hilde Oleson shares a laugh with David Gomez Llata, a mailman by day who serves as the Provincetown Film Festival’s mascot, and David Cox, who directed the film, “My Beautiful Crazy Town,” featuring a poem by Oleson.

The poem featured in “My Beautiful Crazy Town” applauds the town’s accepting atmosphere. One line states: “No longer fear to look different, act strangely, those things are accolades here.”

Oleson said that is all part of what makes Provincetown special. “This is a town like no other,” she said.

As for her newly discovered skill of writing, Oleson said more people should do it. “I really feel a lot of people could write if they would try,” she said. “How to you know unless you try?”


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For more Cape Cod Wave stories about Provincetown, go to our Provincetown stories.

About the author

Laura M. Reckford

Laura M. Reckford is co-founder of Cape Cod Wave. She has been a reporter and editor on Cape Cod for more than 20 years in magazines, newspapers and radio. She has also authored numerous Frommer's Travel Guide editions on Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket.

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