Lucy English shares lessons from The Book of Hours poetry film project

The latest issue of Poetry Film Live includes an extremely interesting new paper by Lucy English, “WRITING POETRY FOR POETRY FILMS: an exploration of the use of spoken word poetry in poetry films“. It joins a growing section at the magazine of essential papers on poetry film and videopoetry by the likes of Sarah Tremlett, Tom Konyves, Fil Ieropoulos, and Susannah Ramsey. The paper is much too long to quote in its entirety, but here’s how it begins:

The Book of Hours is an online collaborative poetry film project, which forms the creative component of my PhD in digital writing. I am making forty eight poetry films to correspond to four different times of day for all the months of the year. This structure has been based on the Medieval Books of Hours, highly decorated and beautiful collections of prayers and readings which followed the Christian calendar. My book of hours is secular but is meditative in nature and intends to create a reflective mood. All the poetry films have been made in collaboration with international film makers. (English, 2016)

For the critical component of my Phd I chart the development of the project and the collaborative process. I also examine what has informed the writing of the poetry for The Book of Hours. Although the poetry exists in a poetry film form it also exists as printed text, a collection of poetry, which will be published by Burning Eye in 2018. In this article I have tried to unpick my understanding of the writing of the poetry, from initial inspirations, to its development as a cohesive collection, and what sources I have looked to for guidance.

English goes on to talk about her background in the spoken word poetry scene, how she’s had to adjust her writing style “to find a contemplative form of spoken word that can be translated to poetry film”, why she chose to pattern her work after Medieval books of hours, and the challenges of writing ecopoetry in modern Britain, among other topics. I found her mix of academic and personal discourse engaging and her arguments persuasive. Do go read… and then visit The Book of Hours to catch up on new additions.

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.

One Comment

  1. This is an amazing project and I feel it brings the importance of academia into perspective when considering poetry film. It was an honor to submit a piece for the project. Brava for Lucy English!

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