Billy Collins and his animated poems at TED conference

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You’ve probably seen these animations before — if not, check out the dedicated site Billy Collins Action Poetry, or watch them (and others) on Moving Poems. What I found interesting here was Collins’ explanation for why he decided to let the animators go ahead and illustrate his poems, since in general he didn’t understand why a poem would need to be animated. His remarks evince little familiarity with the genre, and in questioning why any poem would need to be illustrated in this manner, strangely echo Ron Silliman’s criticism of one of them:

Thus Billy Collins’ The Dead is animated by Juan Delcan, neither poem nor cartoon threatening to break any new ground whatsoever. … [It’s] nothing more than a reading of the piece over which a cartoon has been superimposed.

But he gave in because he says he’s always loved cartoons, and because he figured it would bring his poems to a wider audience.

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.

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