New content at Poetry Film Live and other websites

The editors of Poetry Film Live have just released their second issue, which in practice means that four new videos and an interview have been linked from their front page, below an introduction which I’ll paste in here as an added inducement to go visit:

This issue features poetry films from the UK.

The interview this month is with Adam Steiner. We spoke to Adam on the day Disappear Here was being launched. We particularly wanted to find out about the Disappear Here Project, which involved 9 poets, 9 filmmakers and 27 poetry films. We also talked to Adam about his not-for-profit publishing company, his time working for the NHS and his new novel.

Antony Owen is the poet and performer of The Dreamer of Samuel Vale House. Samuel Vale House is next to the ring road in Coventry. It was directed by Adam Steiner and was the poetry film that led to the Disappear Here Project.

Act was written by Maggie Sawkins and was recorded for ‘Zones of Avoidance’, the live literature production which went on to win the 2013 Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry. Act was filmed by Abigail Norris.

Rachel McGladdery’s poem My Dead Dad is a powerful and moving poem, filmed by Bryan Dickenson. The film gives space for the viewer to take in the words without distraction; Bryan’s aim was for the viewer to ‘defocus’ on the screen.

Martin Evans poetry film Numbers is intriguing – in the Welsh mountains is a numbers station broadcasting in Welsh. Martin explains how numbers stations were used in the Cold War to broadcast on short wave frequencies to spies out in the field. I’ll leave you to enjoy the film and ask the obvious questions ….

Next month there will be international poetry films by Cheryl Gross, Eduardo Yagüe and Lucy English, José Luis Ugarte and Patricia Killelea, plus an interview with Mab Jones who is one of the 9 poets who took part in Disappear Here.

I found the interview with Adam Steiner especially inspirational. Here’s a snippet:

PFL It was said that Disappear Here will ‘make people see the city of Coventry in a different light; whether they are new or have lived here for years. And will inspire others to write/read/experience poetry in its many forms; live and on the page, as well as sparking interest in the new and developing genre of poetry films’. To what extent have these aims been achieved so far?

AS Yes I do think we have done that, by working with great collaborators and the current audiences in Coventry and poets I know here in Coventry. And the people who run the monthly open mike nights are starting to get interesting guests from the midlands and beyond. It is a great way of having our poets working as ambassadors for the city and then poets from other places bringing their stuff here. It’s created whole new collaborations with people publishing other people. I don’t think it will bring loads of people putting pen to paper but I think it will shatter and reinvigorate some conceptions of poetry and what poetry can, or could be, in the future, especially with the films, which are a very accessible and immediate format. If you watch a poetry film, or see a great performance and it stays with you, if a line or two of poetry sticks, it has done its job – if your lines carry on through a person that’s all you can ask for as a poet.

I’ve been giving a lot of attention to Poetry Film Live because they’re new and deserve support, but be sure to keep an eye on other film/videopoetry-related sites, too, or you might miss developments such as:

  • The Haus für Poesie (formerly Literaturwerkstatt Berlin) website has added a new section of pages to its ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival section embedding all the winning films (or trailers) available on Vimeo or YouTube for the complete run of festivals they coordinated, 2002-2014. Start here.
  • So far the new website at zebrapoetryfilm.org has not followed suit. BUT the ZEBRA Poetry Film Club Vimeo channel continues to locate and add films from among all the films ever screened at ZEBRA, a huge undertaking that’s been going on for more than two years now (and which has made my own job as Moving Poems curator much easier).
  • And the ZEBRA Poetry Film Club group on Facebook remains the number one source for international news about the genre. (They’re also on Twitter for the Facebook-averse.)
  • The Vienna-based Art Visuals & Poetry website also regularly adds new content, especially in its Outstanding poetry films section, though it can be a little difficult to navigate. The easiest approach is to subscribe to their partial-content RSS feed for notification of new content, which seems to appear about two or three times a week.
  • Poetryfilmkanal (Poetryfilm Channel), the other major German and English-language website for the genre, is worth visiting at least once a month for their Film of the Month feature. (For those with no German, like me, Google Translate is more than adequate these days for conveying the gist of German prose.) They’re currently soliciting essays on Typography and Text as Image for the third issue of their magazine.
  • The website for the forthcoming VERSOGRAMAS documentary about videopoetry, directed by Belén Montero and Juan Lesta, recently added a page with links to all the videopoets who will be interviewed in the film. (At least, I think it was recent. Since it’s a static page, it didn’t show up in the feed.)

Here’s the latest VERSOGRAMAS teaser, for those who haven’t seen it. For a die-hard videopoetry fan like me, this is more exciting than the latest Star Wars movie trailer:

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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