Martina Pfeiler: Ten Poetry Films for Stimulating Student Discussions

I have introduced poetry films to students for over a decade now. I am very lucky that my students never cease to surprise me with their great observations and analytic responses that unfold in our classroom discussions. Try it!

Ballad of the Skeletons
Gus Van Sant, 1996 (poem and performance by Allen Ginsberg)


Standard Oil Co.
DJ Kadagian, 2004 (poem by Pablo Neruda)


1700% Mistaken for Muslim
Masahiro Sugano, 2010 (poem and performance by Anida Yoeu Ali)


A Finger, Two Dots Then Me
David and Daniel Holecheck, 2011 (poem by Derrick Brown)


Why I Write
Masahiro Sugano, 2012 (poem and performance by Kosal Khiev)


The Dice Player
Nissmah Roshdy, 2013 (poem and reading by Mahmoud Darwish)


Forgotten Memory
Siobhan MacMahon, 2014 (poem by Siobhan MacMahon)


In the Circus of You
Cheryl Gross, 2014 (poem by Nicelle Davis)


I Can’t Breathe (Eric Garner)
Brandon Victor Dixon and Warren Adams, 2014 (poem and performance by Daniel J. Watts)


Indefinite Animals
Martha McCollough, 2015 (poem and film by Martha McCollough)

Martina Pfeiler is an Assistant Professor in American Studies, currently teaching at the Ruhr-Universität Bochum in Germany. She is working on a new book project titled Ahab in Love: The Creative Reception of Moby-Dick in Popular Culture. In 2010 she published the book Poetry Goes Intermedia: U.S.-amerikanische Lyrik des 20. und 21. Jahrhunderts aus kultur- und medienwissenschaftlicher Perspektive (2010). She has lectured and published on poetry films and in 2007 she was invited to Brazil to teach a workshop on “Poetry and New Media: from U.S.-American Performance Poetry to Cin(E-)Poetry to Poetry on the Internet” at UNESP, Araraquara. In 2003 she published the book Sounds of Poetry: Contemporary American Performance Poets following a research period at SUNY New Paltz and in Woodstock, NY, for her M.A. thesis at the Karl-Franzens-University in Graz, Austria. She has also taught in the U.S.A. and in the Netherlands.