Two new essays on videopoetry

I have been doing much thinking about Visual Text in a videopoem. Unfortunately, at the rate that my fingers touch the keyboard, I haven’t had much to show for it. But Litlive just posted my essay, Visual Text/2 Case Studies, in which I comment on two of my favourites from the finalists for their VidLit Contest, both in the Visual Text category: “24” by Susan Cormier and “Profile” by R.W. Perkins.

This past year I was also invited to participate in the Zebra Poetry Film Festival Colloquium in Berlin, but had to cancel the visit due a family emergency. A few days before the event, it was suggested I write something to contribute to the discussion. My good friend and former Vehicule poet, Endre Farkas, read it aloud at the Colloquium. It’s now been posted at In it, I argue that, among other things,

A good videopoem is not predetermined from a script juxtaposed with illustrative elements – it is produced during the editing stage, when the elements are brought together, positioning and duration of text are determined, images and their duration are selected, and sound is chosen, the work is constructed segment by segment, as if they were raw materials in a cauldron. The role of “chance” in this process should not be underestimated or absent.

Editor’s note: For more on Tom and his work, go to

Born in Budapest, based in Montreal until 1983, Tom Konyves is one of the original seven poets dubbed The Vehicule Poets; his work is distinguished by Dadaist/Surrealist/experimental writings, performance works and “videopoems”.

In 1978, he coined the term videopoetry to describe his multimedia work, and is considered to be one of the original pioneers of the form. He is the author of "Videopoetry: A Manifesto", published on Sept. 6, 2011.

As one of the leading theorists of the genre of videopoetry - his Manifesto was reposted in numerous blogs, including W.J.T. Mitchell's Critical Inquiry, and to date has been accessed by readers in 51 countries - he has been invited to address festivals, conferences and symposia in Buenos Aires, Berlin, New York, London and Amsterdam, among others.

Since 2006, he has been teaching screenwriting, video production, journalism and creative visual writing courses at the University of the Fraser Valley in Abbotsford, British Columbia.

One Comment

  1. Much as I like and agree with most of the distinctions you make between videopoetry and other poetry videos, it still leaves me struggling to find a good catch-all term for poetry films and videos that on the one hand are not mere documentaries of readings but on the other hand aren’t slavishly literal illustrations. “Poetry video” seems too broad and “videopoetry” too particular, though I do (mis-)use it in this way in the categorization scheme at Moving Poems. The question I suppose is why, as a poetry video curator, I feel the need for such a category in the first place. I guess it’s all part of my clever scheme to lure in unsuspecting poetry fans searching Google for videos of a certain poet or poem, and get them browsing and thinking more broadly about how film and poetry might work together. Which does seem to have worked for at least some poetry filmmakers who have found their way here, judging from what they’ve told me…

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