Nationality: United States

The Applicant by Sylvia Plath (3)

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A unique twist on the performance poetry video genre from my new favorite channel on Vimeo, Tootight Lautrec’s This Be the Verse.

Tootight Lautrec, the Drag Laureate of the sub-sub-sub basement at PS 75 The Emily Dickinson School, brings you poetry–often as a drag queen lip-sync from archival recordings of poets–This Be The Verse: Poetry for Adults.

This wouldn’t work if Lautrec weren’t very, very good at lip-syncing. In all the years I’ve been combing YouTube and Vimeo for poetry videos, I can’t remember anyone taking this approach before, let alone pulling it off with such panache.

This is the third video for “The Applicant” that I’ve shared here over the years. See also Josep Porcar’s video remix and Maggie Bailey’s interpretative dance.

I have stolen everything by Abeer Hoque

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This is one of three short films by the New York-based filmmaker Josh Steinbauer based on poems by Nigerian-born Bangladeshi American writer and photographer Abeer Hoque, all from her book of linked stories, The Lovers and the Leavers (HarperCollins India, 2015). The third partner in this collaboration was the band Dragon Turtle Music, which supplied the soundtrack for each of these deceptively simple videopoems. Watch all three at (but be careful: it’s one of those annoying sites that sends you off into a new article if you scroll down too far).

Subterranean Homesick Blues by Bob Dylan

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This clip from D. A. Pennebaker‘s 1967 documentary Don’t Look Back remains an innovative, proto music video. Poetry-film expert Alice Lyons included it in her list of “Ten Films to Look at When You Want to Think About Poetry and Film.”

Human by Meghann Plunkett

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Andrés Fernández Cordón of the Buenos Aires-based studio Sloop animated and directed this adaptation of a charming poem by U.S. poet Meghann Plunkett. The Vimeo description notes that “We approached the production much in the same way the poem reads, step by step, drawing one frame after the other without knowing before hand where it would take us.” Plunkett provided the voiceover, and the music is by Shayfer James.

The video was featured at Luna Luna Magazine on August 30, with an accompanying appreciation by Aja Monet, a fellow poet and friend of Plunkett’s since college, as she recounts. Check it out.

lighght by Aram Saroyan

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I’ve been reading Aram Saroyan‘s Complete Minimal Poems and wondering how one might make a videopoem out of a one-word poem. Then I found British photographer Duncan Wooldridge’s Reading Aram Saroyan On The Bus, 2015 (1minute extract), which deploys Saroyan’s most infamous poem of all. Wooldridge’s Vimeo description:

Reading Aram Saroyan’s poem ‘lighght’ on the bus towards Camberwell Green, as a work of durational reading using the technical apparatus of the camera.

I wonder how long the whole video is? I love the idea of it almost as much as I love the idea of the original poem.

Grouse Song by Ruth Thompson

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An improvised dance interpretation of a poem by Hawai’i-based poet Ruth Thompson from her latest book, Crazing. The dancers are Jenn Eng, Claudia Hagan, Anna Javier, Chloe Oldfather, Catherine Rehberg, and the poet herself. Camera, editing and audio are by Don Mitchell. The music is from the Miró Quartet.

It Was Cloudy: Aabjito’ikidowinan 2 / Used Words 2 by Heid E. Erdrich

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A poemeo animated by Jonathan Thunder, written in English by Heid E. Erdrich, translated to Ojibwe language by Margaret Noodin. This poem began when Heid was reading the Nichols and Nylhom Ojibwe language dictionary and practicing her pronunciation, which is always a challenge. The dictionary page is almost entirely made of Ojibwe words for clouds. It ends with “club” which is how winter starts.

Visit Heid E. Erdrich and Jonathan Thunder on the web.