The Washington Post sponsors ten poetry animations for National Poetry Month

Wednesday’s Washington Post online published ten brief but innovative animations of portions of poems by contemporary U.S. poets. The feature, authored by Phoebe Connelly, Suzette Moyer, Julio Negron, Amy King, Emily Chow, and Ron Charles, has a headline complete with line breaks:

To celebrate
the 20th anniversary of
National Poetry Month
We asked
10 poets for
poems.
10 designers
put them
in motion.

Sadly, there’s no accompanying text to give readers any indication that poetry animation might be a thing that other people have done before — a missed opportunity to, for example, link to Motionpoems, who have been matching up prominent U.S. poets with top animators and directors for years. (Though to be fair, Motionpoems too has sometimes acted as if it’s the only organization doing this.) In another indication of the newspaper’s scarcity mentality, they made the unfortunate choice to host the videos themselves, streaming them from the Amazon cloud, which translates to poor performance at my slow DSL speed, and probably for plenty of others in flyover country as well. And anyone who isn’t a paid subscriber may be blocked if they’ve already used up their monthly quota of articles. Fortunately, the Post has also uploaded the videos to AOL.On and Dailymotion, and a couple of the animators have posted their work to Vimeo, so let me share those versions as a public service, in the order in which they appear in the article. (The one thing that’s missing here is the text of the poems, which is useful to see how the excerpts used in the animations relate to the larger works. For that, you’ll still need to visit the Post‘s website.)

Kevin Young + Art&Graft: ‘Commencement’


Watch on Vimeo.

Edward Hirsch + Ellen Porteus: ‘Cotton Candy’


Watch on Dailymotion.

Mary Karr + Charlie Brand: ‘Face Down’


Watch on Dailymotion.

Dunya Mikhail + Hannah Jacobs: ‘A Second Life’


Watch on Dailymotion.

Nick Flynn + James Price: ‘Harbor’


Watch on Dailymotion.

John Yau + Bran Dougherty-Johnson: ‘Portrait’


Watch on Vimeo.

Patricia Lockwood + Paul Cooper: ‘The Hornet Mascot Falls in Love’


Watch on Dailymotion.

Michael Robbins + Rafael Verona: ‘Not Fade Away’


Watch on Dailymotion.

Tracy K. Smith + Muti: ‘Visitation’

Can’t be embedded — Watch on AOL.

Victoria Chang + Phil Borst: ‘The Boss Calls Us at Home’

Can’t be embedded — Watch on AOL.

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.

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