Blog Archives

One Art by Elizabeth Bishop

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Poem by Elizabeth Bishop

Film by Erica Tachoir

One of the more unique and ambitious approaches to the video poetry genre I’ve seen so far. I like the meta- aspect here, what the film says about readers and how poems intertwine with their lives. I also like the implicit judgement against people who can’t tolerate poetic expression.

The Red Wheelbarrow by William Carlos Williams

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Poem by William Carlos Williams

Animation by Lee Luker, with music by Six Organs of Admittance

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Written and directed by Kira Rouse with art by Jeffrey Rouse and sound by Digital Scientist

Hard to say what WCW would’ve made of this one, but it’s an interesting testament to the ubiquity of his poem.

Semishigure by steve d. dalachinsky

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Poem by steve d. dalachinsky

Video by rousseaujj2, using audio from a live reading in Sasebo City, Japan, June 2006

Dalachinsky is a major New York performance poet whom I’ve gotten to know by publishing some of his work at qarrtsiluni. While there are various videos of his live readings on YouTube, this is the only video interpretation of his poems I could find. The video is pretty good, but the reading is extraordinary, I thought — a great evocation of cicadas from someone not generally thought of as a nature poet. Dalachinsky evidently also collaborated with the composer Vito Ricci on a CD called Cicada Music — Ricci says, “Steve Dalachinsky came back from Japan with a tape of cicada singing and a journal. This is the music including the cicada singing.”

Snowmen by Agha Shahid Ali

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http://youtu.be/H4qk62qcG9w

Poem by Agha Shahid Ali (reading by Carl Hancock Rux) — text here

Animation by Kyle Jenkins for the Poetry Foundations’ Poetry Everywhere series

A posthumous volume of Ali’s collected poems, The Veiled Suite, has just been released. He was a master who died much too young. As for the video, I’m not sure it adds anything to the poem or not.

Interview with Mairead Byrne

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I’ve been reading Mairead Byrne’s cryptic, quirky blog Heaven for some three years now, so I was excited to come across this gem of an interview on YouTube — perhaps the most perfect interview with a poet ever captured on video. The title, “The Poet’s View,” appears to be a reference to a DVD of the same name produced by the Academy of American Poets, which includes portraits of John Ashbery, Louise Glück, Anthony Hecht, Kay Ryan, and W. S. Merwin.

The video appears on Byrne’s own YouTube channel. The interviewer isn’t credited.

Daddy by Sylvia Plath

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Poem and reading by Sylvia Plath — text here

Video by mishima1970

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Another video with the same poem, this time by Jim Clark, who makes

Virtual Animated movies of great poets reincarnated through the wonders of computer animation reading their best loved poems and presented in the style of old scratchy movies.

My Entrepreneurial Spirit by Aaron Fagan

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Poem by Aaron Fagan, video by Jeffrey Texas Schell

In an article in the March/April 2009 issue of Poets & Writers — published coincidental to the launching of this website (chalk it up to zeitgeist) — Alex Dimitrov writes,

The sharing of video poems began sometime in 2005, when artists discovered YouTube as a tool through which they could easily distribute their work and reach a broad audience. Aaron Fagan, author of the poetry collection Garage (Salt Publishing, 2007), describes seeing an early video poem that “began with a line about standing in the kitchen slicing an orange, and sure enough the video showed someone standing in a kitchen slicing an orange. The literality seemed to be the pitfall this potential genre was falling into right out of the gate.”

Collaborating with his friends, visual artists Jeffrey Schell and K. Erik Ino, Fagan made several videos for poems from Garage and tried to avoid such a literal approach. One of these videos, “My Entrepreneurial Spirit,” features a collage of images, ranging from footage taken in a moving car to a woman walking on a rooftop, that cannot be explicitly traced back to the narrative of the poem but nonetheless add a rich texture of meaning. For Fagan, working with video is “yet another among many Hail Mary shots to get poetry some attention or readership,” he says.