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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Video Poems

Video poems have become more and more popular over the past couple of years. Today I found a website put together by poet Dave Bonta that has centralized many of the video poems available on the net. It's called Moving Poems, but he also lists other video poems sites you can use, if you scroll down and look on the right side of his homepage.

Bonta has the video poems broken into useful categories: animation, author-made, concrete poems, interviews, dance, to name a few of his categories. He also tends to comment helpfully on each video in text under the screen.

I had been aware of videos by Anne Carson, Todd Boss, Kate Greenstreet, Michelle Bitting, and Billy Collins before stumbling onto Bonta's site, and I had liked all the work that I had seen. Until now, and I still like plenty, just not all.

Below is the "Reticent Sonnet" by Carson. (I love all of Carson's video work. Look on YouTube for more great video poems by her, including "A Lecture on Pronouns in the Form of Fifteen Sonnets.")

And here's Todd Boss's "Icicles." (A couple of really nice Todd Boss poems that aren't on Bonta's website but which are on YouTube are "Don't Come Home" and "Poverty and Paint." In fact, Todd Boss has his own YouTube Channel).

And here's Billy Collins's "Forgetfulness."

The last video I will share today is from Kate Greenstreet. It's called "Cloth." I've not included the screen but only the link because Greenstreet uses the Vimeo format, and somehow Blogger seems to prefer YouTube. (In fact, look for more of Greenstreet's work on Vimeo, rather than YouTube.)

Watching more video poems from Bonta's site this morning, I realized I have much more mixed feelings about them than I had previously thought. Some of them resonate deeply with me, but others are at such odds to my reading of given poems that I cannot enjoy them, and even feel irritated by them. Some visual interpretations that are different from what I would have conceived stretch my imagination and challenge me, but others merely disappoint or worse, disgruntle.

I also find the use of music to be helpful only in certain combinations with voice, poem, and visual image. Sometimes the music overwhelms the music of the spoken voice, and really distracts me, whereas other times music enhances the general atmosphere of the poem effectively.

I also find I have a strong preference for the poem to be read aloud rather than presented in type or text as a visual element in the video. Particularly when the lines are fed to me slowly, I find that the rate usually does not match the rate at which I wish to read, and that is highly frustrating. I lose the line in my frustration.

I am cranky, or what?

So, do you have any favorite video poems to recommend?

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