New paper/videopoem on “Videopoetry: The Hegemony of Image or Text,” by Alison Watkins

Via a link from Tom Konyves on Facebook, I was delighted to discover this presentation, which takes the form of something quite like a videopoem (rather than using the dreaded Powerpoint). It includes one of the most thorough responses to Konyves’ Videopoetry: A Manifesto that I’ve seen. While Alison Watkins acknowledges the effectiveness of poetic juxtaposition between textual and filmic images, she also argues that it isn’t always sufficient or even appropriate; sometimes a more literal match might well better serve the viewer.

Diversity of viewpoint is of course essential if this nascent field of what might be called videopoetry studies is to really get off the ground. Watkins made the presentation for NYSVA Annual Conference on Liberal Arts and the Education of Artists, 2012. Her description on YouTube frames it as follows:

This video takes a look at what’s become of word and text in a visual world. The power of image, in particular moving images, in collaboration with words has unleashed an avalanche of new media artists, and videopoets who have let loose a jumble of poetic text, sound and images on our omnipresent computer screens. Have words and text been turned into mere accessories?


  1. Reply
    Erica Goss 9 November, 2012

    This is extremely interesting and vital to our understanding of video poems. I have no problem with any attempts to create categories for video poems – on the contrary, it creates a language for us to use in discussion and criticism. As long as we stay inclusive, I anticipate that the art form will keep moving beyond any labels we try to apply. And I very much agree that performance poetry has a special value when the poet performs his or her own work. Thank you, Dave, for this post.

    • Reply
      Dave Bonta 9 November, 2012

      You bet. “As long as we stay inclusive, I anticipate that the art form will keep moving beyond any labels we try to apply.” Let’s hope so! I’ve been thinking it might be fun to try and come up with a list of common videopoetry tropes and cliches, just to keep our filmmaker friends on their toes…

  2. Reply
    George Aguilar 20 November, 2012

    I respectfully disagree with Alison on the grounds that she clearly hasn’t seen very many videopoems. There are many works that support Tom’s position and only someone who has a “limited” understanding of the art form, would make such a…statement.

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