Filmmaker: Vin Grabill

The Edge by Josephine Jacobsen

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D.C. performance artist Mary-Averett Seelye interprets the poem by the late Josephine Jacobsen. Vin Grabill, the videographer, notes:

Mary-Averett has presented poetry for many years by performing choreographed movements of her body while she speaks a particular poem. In collaboration with Julie Simon, I produced a 30-minute program, “Poetry Moves”, that presents performances by Mary-Averett Seelye of Jacobsen’s poetry, along with interview sequences of Mary-Averett and Josephine. As Mary-Averett is interpreting Josephine’s poetry, I am interpreting Mary-Averett’s performances by utilizing the video medium in various ways to extend what Mary-Averett is doing.

My goal with this project, as well as with other collaborative projects in which I’ve engaged with performing artists, is to present the performance in a way that would not be possible live on stage in front of an audience. In 1998, “Poetry Moves” received a CINE Golden Eagle Award. I’ve continued to work with Mary-Averett since completing “Poetry Moves”, and in 2008, I completed production of a 3-DVD set surveying 40 years of Mary-Averett’s performance work with poetry.