Why by Richard Siken

Poet: | Nationality: | Filmmaker:

Long poems don’t always translate well into the film medium, but American poet Richard Siken seems to have hit upon a winning formula in his very first go at filmmaking, collaborating with the French-born singer Marianne Dissard, three of whose songs are heard in succession while the text of the poem appears on the screen. The description on Vimeo quotes her reaction:

I am deeply honored that Richard would use my music to accompany his stunning poem “Why”. Richard is by far my favorite American poet. This is his first film and, as a filmmaker myself, I am awed not only by this short work’s striking imagery but also by its rare ability to get to the essence of these three songs. As a lyricist, to no other writer than Richard would I trust my work to take a back seat but in doing so, I get gently but confidently pointed to its essence. I am beyond grateful to Richard for that rare poetic gift.

It’s always encouraging to see poets of Sikens’ stature taking up videopoetry, especially when the results are this ambitious.


  1. Reply
    Erica Goss 25 June, 2013

    Love this one – and it works even though it’s longer than most. I’m a fan of Richard Siken’s poems and art, so it’s great to see that his first foray into video poetry is so successful. Hope more is coming! Thanks, Dave, for posting this one.

  2. Reply
    Catherine Alice 15 July, 2013

    I thought this video poem fantastic in its visual conception and beautifully unfolding poetry. I am sure I will watch it many more times.

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