Moving Poems was founded on February 23, 2009. The very first post featured a clay-on-glass animation of the Emily Dickinson poem “I heard a fly buzz when I died” by Lynn Tomlinson, which I’d found on YouTube. Tomlinson had made it back in 1989, so quite by chance in my very first post—in which my main intent was to honor and invoke the spirit of one of our greatest poets—I also gave a nod to the pre-digital era, which now seems terribly remote.
Meanwhile, Tomlinson has built up quite a reputation as an animator. I’m grateful that she eventually discovered my post, read my complaint about the low-resolution of the YouTube version, and took the time to upload a higher-res video to Vimeo, so I could swap that in. So many of the older videos I’ve shared on Moving Poems have simply vanished, victims of deleted video hosting accounts, copyright complaints, mad housecleaning impulses… you name it. For a while I was using a dead-links plugin to find and remove those posts. But at a certain point I realized that the historic value of keeping a record of who made what and when outweighed the annoyance to visitors from search engines landing on video-less posts.
It’s kind of an archaeological thing. A long-lived blog or website is just like an ancient city built over previous versions of itself—dead links, missing embeds and all. Moving Poems has its ruins, but they’re part of the attraction! Maybe. Anyway, the point is we all fall apart as we age.
At the moment, Moving Poems and its sister blog Moving Poems Magazine (founded in 2010 as Moving Poems Forum) are doing OK except for the fact that neither has HTTPS authentication (because the current webhost charges too much money for SSL certificates), so I probably only have a year or two to remedy that before some browsers will start refusing to follow links here. Meanwhile, some regular readers of the weekly emailed version of the feed probably forget about our web presence altogether, while other former visitors rarely leave the enclosed commons of social media any more, and forget that there used to be such a thing as the open web. Will any of us be here in ten years? Who knows? Sic transit gloria interneti.
Here’s an interview I did with Quail Bell Magazine last month, all about videopoetry and poetry film. I talk about the relationship between videopoetry and the internet, how I curate videos for Moving Poems, and what the future might hold for the genre. Check it out.