There’s no end to the creativity of the artists who make video poems. I’ve had another great year of presenting the best in video poetry here at The Third Form. In my September 2013 column, I took a look at three video poems from artists under forty: Jack Wake-Walker, Annie Ferguson, and Jesse Russell Brooks. Each one shows his or her vision through the mediums of film and poetry.
I’ve noticed a trend in the last year or so: authors making book trailers to support newly published books. Some of the most interesting of these are poetry book trailers; as I wrote in the article, “This quality of a video poem/book trailer allows us to evaluate it using two criteria. First, does it accomplish the aim of creating interest in the book from which it is derived, and second, does it qualify as a separate work of art?” Judge for yourself with book trailers from Robert Krut, Annie Finch, Adrian C. Louis, and Sandra Beasley, plus a trailer from the movie Haiku: The Art of the Short Poem.
Michael Dickes is a musician, writer and filmmaker who lives in New York City. His flash fiction video, “New York City (Pistachio Pants)” is “part grit and part moonbeams, echoes and stardust,” as I wrote in the article. Read about Michael’s life journey from Air Force brat to the editor of Awkword Paper Cut.
Canada’s Heather Haley is an immensely talented person: one-time leader of an all-female punk band, former staff writer for the LA Weekly, and the creator of cutting-edge video poems. She is also the creator of Visible Verse, one of the longest-running festivals for video poetry. She’s the author of a new book, The Town Slut’s Daughter, and stays busy with many creative projects.
One of the most innovative projects in video poetry from last year is The Poetry Storehouse. Poet Nic Sebastian, known for her many recordings of poetry and for her video poems, created a website where poets can contribute their work under a Creative Commons license, including recordings. These are available to video artists to make in to poetry films. In the same article, I interviewed Todd Boss his latest public art project, the St. Louis Union Depot train station, and wrote about “12 Moons,” my project with Swoon, Nic Sebastian and musician Kathy McTavish.
One of my favorite interviews was with Alastair Cook, an artist from Edinburgh, Scotland 2014. Alastair created and runs Filmpoem, an annual festival in Scotland that features the best in video poems from all over the world.
In March I gave my first presentation on video poetry to an audience in Silicon Valley as part of the program “Silicon Valley Reads,” which this year carried the theme “Books & Technology: Friends or Foes?” The audience, most of who had never seen a video poem before, was impressed, with many people interested in making their own.
My interview with twins Cecelia and Justine Post proved that talent runs in this family. Cecelia, a visual artist and Justine, a poet, share an artistic sensibility in the video poem trailer they made for Justine’s new book of poems, Beast. As I wrote in the article, “The fact that Justine and Cecelia are twins informs the work in unexpected ways. The woman in the video is Cecelia, but we could be looking at Justine; the narrator is Justine, but we could be listening to Cecelia.”
My article for May came about from my use of a video poem, “Danatum Passu,” in my presentation for Silicon Valley Reads. From the first email I received (my first-ever from Pakistan) to the midnight-in-Karachi Skype interview with two highly creative and courageous people, this was an unforgettable experience.
Back in the US for June, I interviewed two young men who have taken busking to a new level: typewriter poems for sale, thus proving that contrary to Robert Frost’s famous quotation, there is money in poetry.
I wrapped up the year with a closer look at The Poetry Storehouse. A free-sharing space such as the Storehouse allows for some interesting possibilities. In the article, I conducted a compare-and-contrast exercise on ten video poems, reviewing different takes on the same poems.
Video poetry is a perfect example of the relationship between art and technology.
A poem becomes the plot for a short film, offering the viewer a visual interpretation that includes sound and spoken word. None of this would be possible without poetry, modern cameras and file sharing via the Internet. As technology continues to improve, artists continue to expand the relationship between art and technology, incorporating one into the other as fits their needs.
Please send me your comments, suggestions, and of course, video poems: [email protected]. Let’s hear it for another great year!
Erica Goss is the Poet Laureate of Los Gatos, CA, and the host of Word to Word, a show about poetry. She is the author of Wild Place (Finishing Line Press 2012) and Vibrant Words: Ideas and Inspirations for Poets (PushPen Press 2014). She won the 2011 Many Mountains Moving Poetry Contest and was nominated for the Pushcart Prize in 2010 and 2013. She writes The Third Form, a column about video poetry, for Connotation Press. Recent work appears in Lake Effect, Atticus Review, The Red Wheelbarrow, Passager, Main Street Rag, Pearl, Rattle, Wild Violet, and Comstock Review, among others. Please visit her website: www.ericagoss.com.