Nationality: United States

Living and loving with HIV in Jamaica: four poems by Kwame Dawes

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I’m going to break my informal rule against featuring slideshows today, because I think these are exceptionally well done. The poet is Kwame Dawes, and the photographer is Joshua Cogan. The slideshows were produced by the Pulitzer Center, and are only one facet of a multimedia website, Live Hope Love, which includes interviews, audio of many other poems, and more. Dawes took three trips to his native Jamaica to collect materials for the project; it resembled a regular work of investigative journalism in every way, except for the fact that one of the final products was a collection of poems. His mission, according to the Pulitzer Center: “to explore the experience of people living with HIV/AIDS and to examine the ways in which the disease has shaped their lives.”

Death of the Ball Turret Gunner by Randall Jarrell

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Poem by Randall Jarrell, read by the author

Video by picardposer
Music: “Elysium,” from the Gladiator soundtrack by Hans Zimmer and Lisa Gerrard

A tad on the literal side, but nicely done, I thought.

Diving into the Wreck by Adrienne Rich

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A masterful treatment of Rich’s poem by YouTube vlogger U2bianSynic (a.k.a. Syd). The choice of music (by Tryad Listen) was particularly inspired. The recitation by the poet is from Audible.com.

Blink by Morton Marcus


Poem (“Blink”) by Morton Marcus

Video by Rachel Burnham with Media Mike Hazard and David Bengtson from Listen Up! youth media network

A nicely minimalistic treatment, though I’m not sure why they changed the title. Hearing it in a kid’s voice really adds to the impact of the poem for me.

En la calle San Sebastian by Martín Espada

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Poem and reading by Martín Espada

Animation by Kwok Tung Shuen for the Poetry Foundation’s Poetry Everywhere series

Spacebar by Heather McHugh

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http://youtu.be/1sXiMz9q1TI

Poem and reading by Heather McHugh

Animation by Braulio Garcia for the Poetry Foundation’s Poetry Everywhere series

African-American folk poetry: gandy dancers

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Excerpt of a film by Barry Dornfeld and Maggie Holtzberg-Call

Gandy dancers were the guys who straightened track. A YouTube preview from a full-length documentary (not embeddable) on Folkstreams.net.