Vancouver’s long-running Visible Verse Festival, which justly described itself as “North America’s sustaining venue for the presentation of new and artistically significant videopoetry and film,” is coming to a close. Festival organizer Heather Haley first mentioned the likelihood of discontinuing it in an update to her personal Facebook page last fall, after the successful completion of the 2014 festival. She’s now made it official with a post to the Visible Verse Facebook group:
It is with great sadness that I must inform you, my fellow videopoem and poetry film aficionados, that the Visible Verse Festival is coming to a close. My circumstances have changed drastically in the past few years and I can no longer afford to donate my time, especially as the work load, along with the festival, continues to grow. I now have a *real job,* rather a crappy job but one has to pay the bills, so neither do I have time to seek funding or find a sponsor. I am very grateful to the Cinematheque’s volunteers and staff, especially Artistic Director Jim Sinclair. We had a great run! I will keep this group page up, please feel free to continue posting and sharing.
Originally known as the Vancouver Videopoem Festival, it had its first run in 1999, found a home at The Cinematheque the following year, and ran every year since, with Haley doing most of the work single-handedly. Historically speaking, along with VideoBardo in Buenos Aires (biannual since 1996), Visible Verse bridged the gap between the Poetry Film Festival/Cin(E)-Poetry Festival in San Francisco—the world’s first poetry film festival, which ran from 1975 to 1998—and ZEBRA, PoetryFilm, TARP, Sadho, and all the other poetry-film festivals and organizations that sprang up in the new millennium. Haley also helped set the tone for many of these later festivals with her eclectic and inclusive approach to programming, representing mainstream, avant-garde, and spoken-word communities in roughly equal measure. She was a major inspiration for Moving Poems, as well. Visible Verse will be missed, but here’s hoping that Haley continues to direct her own poetry films and collaborate with other filmmakers as time permits.