Poet-filmmaker Rachel Eliza Griffiths interviewed at Connotation Press

The March issue of Connotation Press is out today, and with it a new Third Form column by Erica Goss. This time, she interviews a poet and multimedia artist I’ve been especially curious about, having featured several of her films at Moving Poems: Rachel Eliza Griffiths. A couple of snippets:

“Students have a more visual life nowadays. In my creative writing classes, I often have students respond to photos on their iPhones. One day they might examine their own work, and on other days they respond in writing to the photos of other students. It’s very interesting to see what they come up with.” Students write self-portrait poems using, for example, five photos as a gallery. Rachel Eliza asks them, “How does shadow work in a poem? Is it similar to shadow in a photo?”


Rachel Eliza’s current project is P.O.P (Poets on Poetry), a project with 100 contemporary poets who read and comment on poetry, their own and others’. “I wanted videos that showed poets in a better light, quality-wise, than what you often see in archival videos on YouTube, for example. I’m happy that teachers use some of the videos as part of their lesson plans.” P.O.P includes poets such as Cornelius Eady, Tina Chang, Michael Dickman, Marilyn Nelson and Terrance Hayes.

The interview includes commentary on some embedded films. I was especially struck by Griffiths’ description of how she came to make Incident, her contribution to the #BlackPoetsSpeakOut movement. And I was excited to hear that she plans a triptych of new videos in support of her upcoming collection of poems. Check it out.

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