Posts in Category: Performance Poetry

About a City by Aljosa Drazovic

Poet: | Nationality: | Filmmaker:

The story of the city is simple.
It eats secrets of people.
It digests whispers and
turns them into leaves, birds, fish.

Serbian filmmaker Dragana Nikolic made this arresting spoken word/videopoem hybrid in 2011 with performance poet Aljoša Dražović playing the part of a slightly crazed tour guide, extemporizing in English. (Apparently he is fluent in both English and Serbian. Here’s a video of him performing work in Serbian.) Nikolic says this about this about the film on Vimeo:

Night walk. Unusual tour guide. Improvisation. Free-style poetry.
Talking with the ghosts of the city, the shadows, the fog…
This city is full of secrets. Secret passageways, stairways. Just hidden for you to find…

Festivals: Balkan Beyond Borders, Bucharest, Romania; CologneOFF – Cologne International Videoart Festival; Timishort Romania; Clermont-Ferrand IFF France; Signes de Nuit International Festival, Paris, France; Belgrade Documentary and Short FF; Exit Festival, “Trgni se! Poezija!” Poetry an Book Festival, Alternative Film / Video Festival, Belgrade.

Nikolic also has a bilingual blog focusing on her graphic design work.

Genocide Is My Man Utd by Kevin Barrington

Poet: | Nationality: | Filmmaker:

Irish poet Kevin Barrington is doing interesting things with spoken-word video these days — here, with the help of filmmaker Mark Cantwell. The poem’s cynicism may be a little on the heavy side, but it works for me. (For Americans and others who may be clueless about soccer/football, “Man United” is Manchester United Football Club, one of the most successful teams in English football.)

Is, Ain’t by Douglas Kearney

Poet: | Nationality: | Filmmaker:

Poet/performer/librettist Douglas Kearney made and uploaded this to Vimeo two years ago, noting:

A quick and dirty performance of a poem from my new chapbook, SkinMag (A5/Deadly Chaps). It’s a projection that accompanies live readings.

For more videos of Kearney’s dynamic live performances, see the Media page on his website.

امر گيت / A Song Everlasting by Attiya Dawood

Poet: | Nationality: | Filmmaker:

All the flowers in my country have been picked
And gunpowder planted instead.
Fragrance breathes its last
In a torture camp.
The very lane where hand in hand with you
I have danced to the music of peace,
There a death-dealer is spread-eagled.

Ammar Aziz directed this poetry film featuring Pakistani poet, writer, and women’s rights activist Attiya Dawood, accompanied by dancer Suhaee Abro. Be sure to press the icon marked “CC” at the bottom of the video to view subtitles in English, Sindhi or Urdu, or click through to the Umang website to read the text in all three languages.

Sorry, Google Doesn’t Know Jealousy by Denise Duhamel

Poet: | Nationality: | Filmmaker:

Producer Didi Menendez found the perfect way to translate a Google search poem into video: have a different person read each line.

Poem by Denise Duhamel read by 65 poets including Terrance Hayes, Richard Blanco, Collin Kelley, Michelle Buchanan, Diego Quiros, Emma Trelles, Amy Gerstler, Maureen Seaton, Matthew Hittinger, Stephen Mills, Major Jackson, Duriel Harris, more. Video is part of the FIXATION gallery event taking place at the Zhou B Art Center April 2014.

Poet Denise Duhamel explains in a note at the end of the video that

I chose for my “Fixation” entry jealousy, a very human reaction under certain circumstances, but one that I am embarassed to have. I used “googlism” to search Jealousy, as though it were a person or place. There are four googlism choices: who, what, where, and when. When I searched Jealousy under “when,” there was nothing, only this message: Sorry, Google doesn’t know Jealousy. I knew instantly this would be my title. I collaged the lines from the other three googlisms for jealousy, pruning away the repeats. Many of the lines that pop up on googlism are truncated in some way, and I let those stand, as it seems to me they imply a hesitation, a shame in finishing the thought about this very vexing emotion.

For more about Fixation, see

ہمارے گھر کوئی آتا نہیں ہے / Nobody comes to our home by Abrar Ahmad

Poet: | Nationality: | Filmmaker:

Pakistani poet Abrar Ahmad reads his poem in this video from Umang, directed by Ammar Aziz. Press the CC (closed captioning) icon for the English translation by Zahra Sabri, and visit the video’s page on the Umang site for the complete original Urdu text as well as the translation.

Disappointment by Jade Anouka

Poet: | Nationality: | Filmmaker:

British actor and poet Jade Anouka stars in this film of her poem directed by Michael Dickes, publisher of Awkword Paper Cut. Here’s the description on Vimeo:

Jade Anouka: Poem and Narration
Michael Dickes: Camera & Concept
Audio/Video Editing
Filmed on location at 59E59 Theater in
NYC using one camera and 1 lightbulb
on a wire. Kind thanks to theater staff.
Jades voice-over recorded at 48k using an AKG
large diaphram microphone.
Original soundscapes by Erokia (CC) Re-edited