This is the English version of the “visual poem” Boy in Blue with poetry by Kwame Dawes, images by photographer Andre Lambertson, editing by Robin Bell and music by Kevin Simmonds. See YouTube for the text.
I’ve decided to change course here and begin occasionally posting films that consist entirely of still images so I can feature projects like this. The technical term for a film montage of still images (often found in documentary films) is kinestasis, so that’s the name of this newest category at Moving Poems.
I previously shared Dawes’ kinestases with photographer Joshua Cogan, Live Hope Love, which was about living with HIV in Jamaica. Voices from Haiti is a newer series, also produced by the Pulitzer Center, which explores life after the earthquake in Haiti, focusing on the lives of those affected by HIV/AIDS.
At the AWP conference in Chicago the week before last, I had the pleasure of seeing Mr. Dawes speak about the collaborative process involved in making these videos, and was impressed by the extent to which he and the other artists involved in these projects seem to have stumbled upon some of the same principles that make regular videopoems or filmpoems work: the importance of the soundtrack and the need for juxtaposition rather than simple illustration to created multiple narratives in the listener’s head — “reportages in dialogue,” as he put it. These visual poems are creations in their own right, different from purely textual poems, and would not have happened without collaboration between poet, photographer and composer, he said.