Interview with Tom Konyves at Connotation Press

In her latest “Third Form” column at Connotation Press, Erica Goss interviews videopoetry pioneer Tom Konyves. Goss’s usual pattern of paraphrasing and quoting from a conversation conducted by telephone gave way here to a more standard question-and-answer format, and the interview delves into aspects of Konyves’ background which were new to me. Here’s how Goss herself summarized it:

In this interview, Tom discusses, among other things, making his first videopoem on ½” reel-to-reel videotape, the medium of video being “unrecognized” by Herman Berlandt, Director of the San Francisco Poetry Film Workshop, what text-image relationships have in common with male-female relationships, and falling in love with language as a child.

I particularly liked the story of how Konyves came to make his first videopoem. But I think the most quotable bit is from the end of the interview:

Text-image relationships are no different from male-female relationships. Sometimes they get along, sometimes they don’t. They get along when they are totally aware of the other’s “potential” as well as their own. For each has the potential to be effective in different ways. They don’t try to overpower the other or usurp each other’s roles in the structure of the work. A particular image provides the only possible context in which the words are intended to be experienced. When they “complete” each other, the work is “pure poetry”. And once you’ve realized that, you will always associate the images with the text of the work. They have become soulmates. How many “video poems” have this attribute? Watch one, then close your eyes and listen to the words. Can you picture the scene? Throughout?

Do go read the whole interview.

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