Wednesday Jun 19

EricaGoss2014 “The internet has played a major part in enabling artists worldwide the freedom to engage and explore universal streams of consciousness. The global community has more things in common than set it apart.” So writes Australian filmmaker and visual artist Jutta Pryor. This month, I have interviews with Jutta and Marie Craven, a fellow Australian and filmmaker. Both found video poetry via the internet, and became aware of each other’s work the same way. They have each made compelling and accomplished video poems, and while their individual work embraces different aesthetics, they have both come to video poetry relatively recently.

Jutta’s experience as a child who grew up traveling in many countries, and for whom English is a second language, encouraged her to develop her drawing skills. “Looking at my childhood drawings, I see the usual sun, sky, clouds, house, flowers and grass with a cross-sectional view into the soil.” From these beginnings, Jutta moved to a range of media, involving photography, moving image and printmaking. “Poetry is an inspirational starting point that lends itself to creative interpretation and collaboration by bringing together writers, filmmakers, remixers sound artists and actors to create poetry film.” Here are two of Jutta’s recent poetry films:

Crows, a poem by Lori Lamothe:

Mostly about a color, poem by Jene Ravelsloot:


Jutta also runs POOL, “an open creative community group on Facebook that engages in shared media conversation. POOL is a place where visual artists, writers, musicians, filmmakers and performers are welcome to collaborate, share skills, ideas or just stay in contact.” A mini-tour of recent POOL postings include several haiku, a Toronto artist’s spotlight, a posting for a printmaking and stencil exhibition, and a link to photos from a 1972 Rothschild Surrealist Dinner Party. You will find artistic inspiration in many categories here, and my only criticism is that it’s far too easy to completely lose track of time while scrolling down the page.

“Inspiration is multi-directional across these creative disciplines,” says Jutta. “It is fascinating to explore Poetry as Film.”

Marie Craven started her practice as a visual artist as a child with a Brownie Box camera. Soon after, she acquired a flash camera. This interest in photography led her to a career as a filmmaker, and in the 1990s, she won an award for a poetry film. “I became aware of the Poetry Storehouse through POOL, Jutta Pryor’s Facebook group. Nic Sebastian’s voice and poems intrigued me.” In the short time since Marie discovered the Storehouse, the whole world of video poetry has opened up to her. “I love that video poetry is home-based, that one gathers material and makes things on a small scale. It’s domestic, not big and expensive.”

Marie’s videos have evocative and moving soundtracks. “Music was a family thing. I’m interested in electronic, experimental music.” Marie has collaborated with the musical artist Dementio13 from Wales, as well as using soundscapes from Josh Woodward and Masonik.

The found-material aspect of poetry film appeals to Marie. “It’s like collage, or quilting. You enjoy the surprise, and never know what you’ll find. I don’t plan things out too much, but let the process dictate the final product.”

Certain poems draw her interest, and she says, “I’ve been reading heaps of poetry lately,” but she’s not always certain what will grab her attention. Right now, the poems of Laura Kaminski, as well as Dave Bonta’s erasure project, have inspired her. “One of the aspects of making a poetry film that I like is that I must read the poem over and over in order to see it on the screen. Slowly the poem reveals itself.”

Two of Marie’s video poems:

Death Meditation, poem by A. M. Thompson:


First Grade Activist, poem by Nic Sebastian: winner of the remix category in the Poetry Storehouse Contest:

View more of Jutta Pryor’s videos at her Vimeo site.

View Marie Craven’s art at her website.