Announcing Moving Poem’s first videopoem contest

UPDATE (4/26): We have winnners! There were seven finalists in all. See contest winners 1 and contest winners 2.

1. The gist

In order to showcase and celebrate diverse approaches to making videopoems and poetry-films, I thought it would be fun to have a contest where everyone would use the same poem in its entirety, either in the soundtrack or as text (or both). Please join us! Post the results to YouTube or Vimeo and either email me the link (bontasaurus[at]yahoo[dot]com) or put it in a comment below, no later than April 15 April 22. I’ll post the winners to the main site.

2. The poem


by Howie Good


A messenger arrived
from a country

colonized by magpies.
I have two sons, he said,

one whose name
means wolf

and one whose name
means laughter.

It felt like rain,
what’s called

a baby’s ear moon,
false angel wing.

They hanged him
in a cornfield.

The world is made
of tiny struggling things.

from Rumble Strip (Propaganda Press, 2010)

3. The nitty-gritty

Howie Good is the author of 27 (!) print and digital chapbooks and three full-length collections of poetry, not to mention the 12 scholarly books he’s written in his other career as a journalism professor, which include several studies of film. For a fuller bio and links to some of his online work, see his blog, Apocalypse Mambo. I am grateful to Howie for giving us carte blanche to interpret his poem however we want.

As stipulated above, I’d like all videos to include the complete poem. They should be true videos or films — no video slideshows, please. You should also have permission for any images, footage, and sounds you might use, or be able to make a strong case that (for U.S. material) your use of copyrighted material is sufficiently transformative as to fall under generally accepted definitions of fair use. Please include Howie Good’s name and a link to his blog in the video description at YouTube or Vimeo.

For details about fair use and loads of links to free-to-use video and audio, please refer to our new page: Web resources for videopoem makers. Of course, I encourage those with the means to do so to shoot fresh footage, compose or mix your own music, etc. But if all you have access to is some free video- and audio-editing software and lots of time and imagination, you can still contribute.

You can enter as many times as you like. From all the entries, we’ll select an indeterminate number of finalists to feature on the main site. Howie has offered to give copies of his books Rumble Strip, Anomalies, and Disaster Mode to his top three favorites, with the first place winner getting all three, second place the first two, and third place getting the last. If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, I’d love to hear them.

Dave Bonta

Dave is the founder of Moving Poems, and posts videos for his own poems (along with lots of other stuff) at Via Negativa. Here's a bio.


  1. Dave, this looks like fun. By April, I should have more time to have some fun, so I’m glad the deadline is a ways off.

  2. Coming late to the game, but if anyone is up for a collaborative entry, am very happy to provide a voice version of this great piece as an MP3 file. Just let me know!

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