Nationality: U.K.

What is Love? by Lucy English

Poet: | Nationality: | Filmmaker:

This latest addition to Lucy English’s Book of Hours poetry-film project was directed by Lori H. Ersolmaz, with English reading her poem in the soundtrack.

Bun Stop by Paul Summers

Poet: | Nationality: | Filmmaker:

This oddly compelling film from photographer Dan Douglas, poet Paul Summers, and composer Roma Yagnik “sets out to discover beauty in even the darkest parts of Newcastle upon Tyne,” according the Vimeo description. So many online poetry videos deploy slowly moving still images — the “Ken Burns effect” — but this does the exact opposite, using a stationary camera to frame beautifully composed shots through which people, cars, and pigeons move, an approach which seems to mirror the score’s minimalism and Summers’ poetic strategy: an understated yet expressive recitation of a praise-poem full of interesting juxtapositions and word music.

Douglas posted the video to his website, where it has attracted some revealing comments from Newcastle residents and natives. He notes that

we hope [Bun Stop] is the first of a few short poetry films about the North East. We want to work with other local composers and actors, the overall project will be called Confluence.

Nicknames by William Richardson

Poet: | Nationality: , | Filmmaker: ,

This is a great example of how a good soundtrack (here, the work of Luca Nasciuti, with voiceover by Alastair Cook) can really make a poetry film work. It’s from a new-to-me-project:

The fitba, the teams, the love for the game. Nicknames was written by William Richardson, read by Alastair Cook and filmed by Jane Groves. Nicknames was made as part of Luminate Festival’s Well Versed project. Workshops with Craigshill Good Neighbour Network were led by poet Rachel McCrum and filmmaker Alastair Cook. Nicknames was edited by Alastair Cook.


Scotland’s creative ageing festival, is held from 1st to 31st October across Scotland each year. The festival brings together older people and those from across the generations to celebrate our creativity as we age, share stories of ageing and explore what growing older means to all of us. Each year, there are activities all over Scotland – from art workshops and dance classes to music performances and authors’ events – and you will find Luminate in theatres, galleries, community halls, care homes and lunch clubs, as well as events online that take us to audiences everywhere.

The Well Versed screening was held last Saturday, apparently. The videos are now all online in the video gallery of the Luminate website.

You Are 6 Years Old and She is Teaching You How to Ride a Bicycle by Stephanie Dogfoot

Poet: | Nationality: , | Filmmaker:

Stephanie Dogfoot is a performance poet with numerous slam championships in Singapore and the UK under her belt, but here filmmaker Sarah Howell of the Dream Bravely production company has made the unusual (for performance poetry) decision to focus not on the poet but on the poem, with salutary results. This is also a great example of how to use video to drive home the political message of a poem. It was made in collaboration with the Haque Centre of Acting & Creativity for “the August [2015] installment of their storytelling night Metaphors Be With You: Childhood Stories,” according to a blog post by Dogfoot. Michael Lim was the cinematographer, with music by Celer and Konrad Feucht.

This is one of the films in the Zebrino Competition at the upcoming ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival next week, and I need to give a tip of the hat to the ZEBRA Poetry Film Club channel on Vimeo, which has been adding films at a great rate in the build-up to the festival. I’ll be sourcing films from that channel for weeks to come, but if you can’t wait, go there now and gorge.

On Your ‘A 1940 Memory’ by Daljit Nagra

Poet: | Nationality: | Filmmaker:

This is Across Fields, a film by Tim Davies incorporating British poet Daljit Nagra‘s tribute to the great World War I poet Siegfried Sassoon, who fought in the Battle of the Somme, paired with “Site-responsive video recorded in and around the Bois de Mametz in the Somme Valley,” as the credits inform us. The poem and film were commissioned by a poetry project called Fierce Light:

Perhaps no art form captured the complexity and terror of the First World War more acutely than poetry. Drawing on their experiences, poets used their art to reflect on the war’s impact: from the horrors of the battlefield to the ways in which the conflict rendered a familiar world unrecognisable to those left living in it.

Fierce Light brought together leading poets from countries that participated in the First World War, including Yrsa Daley-Ward, Jackie Kay, Bill Manhire, Paul Muldoon and Daljit Nagra, to create new works that endeavour to understand the incomprehensible; exploring contemporary events while also contemplating the First World War. These works were presented alongside a series of specially commissioned short films, each made in response to the new poems and themes raised within them. […]

Launching with an exhibition and a special live event, Fierce Light featured the poets during the City of Literature programme at Norfolk & Norwich Festival, before the poems and films were presented on radio, at other literary festivals and online.

Hoover by Trevor Meaney

Poet: | Nationality: | Filmmaker:

This is the first of a four-part series of film poems called The Meaning of Lemon, based on the poetry of UK performance poet Trevor Meaney and directed by Bryan Dickinson of the Lancaster Film Makers’ Co-op. Each of the films in the series uses a similar device: a nonplussed or phlegmatic person listening to a unexpected poem delivered through improbable means. In “Hoover,” actor Philip Cowles’ eyebrow action really makes the film for me.

Meters by Carol Ann Duffy

Poet: | Nationality: | Filmmaker:

For the UK’s National Poetry Day, here’s a poem by the UK’s national poet on a matter of some national interest. It was commissioned by the NGO Smart Energy GB, who say on their website:

Inspired by the passing of traditional gas and electricity meters and the coming of smart meters, Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy has published a new poem.

The 300-word elegy to the “whirring wheels” of “artefacts” that are making way for smart meters has been set to an accompanying short film by BAFTA-nominated director Gary Tarn, immortalising traditional meters while looking to an inspiring, digital, green future.

Click through for the text. They include a quote from Duffy:

Household meters are one of the most unusual topics I’ve written about.

I hope people enjoy the poem and film, and take a moment to think about the boxes under the stairs and in hallway cupboards, which have been silently recording household life for so long.