Jeg sætter mig / I take a seat by Morten Søndergaard

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Danish poet Morten Søndergaard‘s reading of his poem for Lyrikline, as well as the English translation there by John Irons, are featured in this videopoem by Marc Neys A.K.A. Swoon, who writes:

A big thanks to Arjen Vandrie for being the recording engineer of the different instruments I mistreated in this track.

The visual idea for the video came to me when going through different sources looking for footage for another project.
I picked out pieces depicting several (powerful) forces in nature (water/waves, wind, lightning,…) and some with a clear human presence in it. One piece (The hand above the water) was the perfect carrier for the words. The repetition of that calming gesture worked perfectly with Morten’s voice.


poem & voice: Morten Søndergaard
(from: Bier dør sovende – Copenhagen: Borgens Forlag, 1998)
Audioproduktion: Literaturwerkstatt Berlin 2008
Concept, editing, treats & music: SWOON
recording engineer music: Arjen Vandrie
Cinematography: cinematography: Sarah Lee (from ‘Under The Sea’)
Leonard Soosay (from ‘For Benny’) – Michael Raiden (from ‘ A Quick Hour’)
under the Attribution license (CC BY 3.0)
Thanks; Orange HD, videoblocks, Mazwai, Lyrikline

Surprisingly, I’ve never shared a Danish poetry film here before—this is the first. I hope it won’t be the last. (I’d love to see a filmmaker do something with Henrik Nordbrandt’s poetry, for example.)

Lexiconography 1 by Heid E. Erdrich and Margaret Noodin

A fascinating experiment in translation. R. Vincent Moniz, Jr. is the producer and co-director with Jonathan Thunder (art direction and animation). Poet Heid E. Erdrich collaborated with translator Margaret Noodin of, as the YouTube description makes clear:

This short poem film, created by R. Vincent Moniz, Jr. and Jonathan Thunder, experiments with animation and sound in a bi-lingual tribute to the nearly extinct wooden clothespin. Created with English words from a bi-lingual dictionary entry for the word “cloud” the poem is brought to action in both English and Anishinaabemowin.

“Lexiconography 1″ is one of a series of poems Heid E. Erdrich has collaborated on with Margaret Noodin. Heid’s original text in English (written with an awareness of Ojibwe language) is translated into Anishinaabemowin and then back into English to reveal tensions between the language as Noodin sees them. The animated poem is not a strict translation of the English. “Lexiconography 1” is available as a FREE downloadable work of art by Meghan Keane at

Here’s that artwork (PDF).

I’ve long maintained that videopoetry is a great medium for communicating the power of poetry across language barriers, and I think this is a good example of that.

Corkscrew Hill Photo by Roger Philip Dennis

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A poetry-film about a photographer strikes me as a particularly difficult assignment, but director James William Norton of Filmpoem rose to the challenge, enlisting the aid of actress Kelcy Davenport. Artist and writer Roger Philip Dennis‘ poem “Corkscrew Hill Photo” took First Prize in the Poetry Society’s National Poetry Competition 2014, and Norton uses his recitation in the soundtrack, along with soundscapes by Farah Mulla and music by Dissimilar.

Sonnet 29 by William Shakespeare

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“In disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes,” a reincarnated Bard finds inspiration outside the Old Town Bar at Union Square, Manhattan. John Hayden directed this film for The Sonnet Project. Tom Degnan is the lead actor.

The background information on the sonnet’s page at the website includes this interesting tidbit:

The feeling of uselessness, outcasting, and disgrace in this poem is thought to be related to the 1592 closing of London playhouses as [a] result of an outbreak of the plague, causing Shakespeare and other actors to live with small wages, and be looked upon as filthy by town society.

Also, click the “actor” tab there for more information about Degnan than either IMdB or Wikipedia currently provide.

Needless to say, if Shakespeare were alive today, he’d be writing screenplays for television, and probably penning rap lyrics in his spare time.

I Would Like to Go On A Bike Ride by Denise Newman

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A minimalist, author-made videopoem:

Images and initial sound by Denise Newman
Singing by Dame Joan Sutherland “Rose Softly Blooming” from the opera Zemira and Azor

Newman, who also teaches college undergraduates, has somehow managed to get snails to collaborate on videopoems. I asked her how she did it, and she replied:

Aren’t those snails talented? No training and it only took one shot. I worked with other snails after that but had to become a “snail whisperer” to get them to cooperate.

555 by Ross Sutherland

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This is #29 in Ross Sutherland‘s “30 Videos/30 Poems” digital residency at The Poetry School. His description at Vimeo reads:

The relationship between screens and metaphor seemed like a good way to bring this residency towards a close.

How does TV like to portray itself? Short answer: usually as an oracle of some kind, or as a device to show a character’s inner thoughts. It’s right up there with “tortured protagonist looks in a cracked mirror.”

Although I know I’ve seen it a hundred times, these scenes are hard things to seek out on the web. If anyone can name any more, please comment below! I’d like to make a super-cut someday.

(Comment at Vimeo, not here, if you have suggestions for Ross.)

I wonder if anyone’s ever used footage of people watching videopoetry in a videopoem? Now that would be meta!

Y sonó la alarma / And the alarm rang by Lilián Pallares

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Columbian poet Lilián Pallares is an actress with considerable charisma in this entertaining film-poem by New Zealand director Charles Olsen (Antena Blue). The use of silent-movie-style intertitles for Pallares’ text necessitates separate videos for the Spanish and English versions, but it’s worth it, I think, for the way it accentuates the manic, comic style. Spanish composer and pianist Pablo Rubén Maldonado contributed an original composition for the soundtrack.