A videopoem by poet, teacher and musician Patricia Killelea using a text from her collection Counterglow. In an interview with Passages North, where she’s now the poetry editor, Killelea talked about the impetus behind her poetry videos:
I carry a video camera with me wherever I go—I think of it as my visual notebook. For a long time I theorized my poetry mostly in terms of sound and silence, but the more I started thinking about the relationship between my body and language, the more I wanted to create a multi-sensorial experience. We don’t experience language merely through sound or even visually on the page, but everywhere we go. I walk through the woods and I’m reminded of a story told to me by Oneida beadwork artist Karen Ann Hoffman, or I’m watching my bandmate Aubrey Hess cradle a jug of wine and it reminds me of thirst and insatiable longing. I think in terms of interwoven networks between words and images, sounds and movement and so my video poems are an attempt-in-progress to capture both my associative writing process as well as to situate my poetry in the actual, physical world of things.
The poems from my forthcoming second poetry collection, Counterglow, are small and serious, and their sparseness prompts questions of space and the need to expand the visual-aural arc of my poetry’s scope. For these reasons, I’ve begun exploring video poetry. I’m excited about these transformations in poetics and the move toward digital experimentation. I began my video-poetry-sound experiments while I was an artist-in-residence at the Santa Fe Art Institute during August 2013.
It is possible that video poems are a way of grounding written speech back in the body, evoking a multi-sensorial experience of language and space. It is also possible that movements in digital poetics against narrative merely reiterate the varied ways in which all experience, language, and life is inherently storied– that is, fragmented structures tell a story of fragmentation, etc. It is likewise possible that the acoustic and visual “compete” with each other as Charles Bernstein suggests (2003) and that we are in the age of poetry “music videos,” a kind of anti-MTV or a poet’s last stand against bullshit assertions that poetry doesn’t matter. It definitely matters, and video poetry makes its materiality all the more substantive.
Visit YouTube to watch more of Killelea’s videopoetry.