In my first year writing The Third Form, I interviewed close to twenty poets and filmmakers, featured over sixty-five individual video poems, and traveled to Berlin and Colorado to attend poetry film festivals. My fascination with the art form is stronger than ever. Here’s a retrospective of the year:
In my first column, I started the conversation about video poems by attempting to define what, exactly, they are. “No easy definition exists,” I wrote. “In my meanderings through the internet, I’ve come across videos based on poems and poems based on videos; video poems that include narration, music and sound effects as well as videos that have no narration or text; poems interpreted through dance, sign language, and collaged bits of old film; videos made by filmmakers, poets, artists, students, and businesspeople; and much more.”
The next month, I interviewed Dave Bonta, whose website Moving Poems is an invaluable resource. “Moving Poems is poet-oriented rather than filmmaker-oriented,” Dave says. “It’s a place to collect video poems, and help bring a larger audience to poetry.” I also interviewed Todd Boss, award-winning poet and co-creator of Motion Poems, a site that features one new video poem per month.
The work of Swoon (Marc Neys) is “a blend of layered images taken from internet archives, advertisements, and his own film, combined with soundtracks that Swoon makes himself. The poem appears asspoken word most of the time, and as text other times. Key images are repeated, creating a dream-like quality where images flicker across the screen. Swoon also integrates slow motion, grainy, textured pictures, and alternates black-and-white with color.” Read my in-depth interview with him here.
In October, I traveled to Berlin to attend the Zebra Poetry Film Festival. This was total heaven for video poem fans, and it took two articles to fully cover all of my impressions: Zebra Part 1 and Zebra Part 2.
I started the new year with close readings of video poems that shared a vibrant, urban aesthetic but had very different sensibilities. I featured the video poems and interviews with R.W. Perkins, Marie Silkeberg, and Pablo Lopez.
As a poet, I’m interested in how a poet feels seeing his or her work made into a video. In my column “The Poet’s Point of View About Videopoetry,” I interviewed Todd Boss, Al Rempel, Howie Good, and Erin Belieu, all poets who have had poems of theirs turned into videos. Their insights, both surprising and enlightening, are here.
I’ve been a fan of Kate Greenstreet’s work since I found her website. Kate is a person of many talents, both as a poet, visual artist and filmmaker. I interviewed Kate about her life and work in my column for March.
In my next column, I reviewed Swoon’s (Marc Neys) first long video, titled “Circle,” which he had mentioned working on when I first interviewed him in 2012. “Circle,” an experiment in extending a poetry film past the usual length of 3-5 minutes, includes poems from eleven Belgian poets, in Dutch with English subtitles. Along with Swoon’s work, I have an interview with poet and video artist Nic Sebastian, whose unique and compelling voice has brought deeper meaning to many poetry recordings:
As Spring approached, I wanted to show my readers what was happening in other parts of the world, as far as video poetry goes. I found nine video poems from places as far-flung as Iceland, India and Argentina.
In May I traveled to Ft. Collins, Colorado, to attend The Body Electric, Colorado’s first poetry film festival. With snow still on the ground, I watched over thirty short films in the Lyric Cinema, and came away with a list of my five favorites.
Thinking like a poet again, I interviewed two collaborative teams, each made up of a poet (Nicelle Davis, Marilyn McCabe) and a filmmaker/animator (Cheryl Gross, Peter Verardi) to see what insights they learned from collaborating on video poems.
Looking back over my columns for the past year, I’m struck most of all by the talented individuals whose art I featured. Poets and video artists from all walks of life, all ages, and all skill levels have experimented with video poems, and I’m proud of the work I shared with my readers. I’ve heard from many of you, with suggestions, helpful comments, and appreciations. Thank you, thank you! I welcome your comments and hope you’ll keep letting me know what you think. Contact me at [email protected].