Poetry Film Live unveils first issue, opens submissions

Poetry Film Live headerPlease join me in welcoming and spreading the word about a new online magazine, Poetry Film Live. Unveiled on Friday, its first monthly issue “features poetry films from international poets and filmmakers,” names that should be familiar to most Moving Poems readers: Robert Peake, Marc Neys, Marie Craven, and Judith Dekker. There’s also an interview with Martin Rieser, which adds historical perspective and contributes some insights about poetry film I haven’t seen elsewhere.

The editors are the energetic filmpoem-making team of Chaucer Cameron and Helen Dewbery, with assistant editor Lucia Sellars, a poet and environmental scientist who brings Spanish-language fluency to the table. Poetry Film Live is affiliated with The Interpreter’s House, a 32-year-old UK print literary journal. Here’s how they describe their mission:

Poetry Film Live is a collaboration with The Interpreter’s House poetry journal to show some of the best and most inspiring film and video poetry from the UK and around the world, by both new and established poets and poetry filmmakers.

Poetry film harmonises words, images and sound to create a new poetry experience … it’s more than spoken words, visual images and sound being in the same room together, it’s their ability to talk to one another that creates the magic in poetry film.

The editorial bias is toward poetry films with an emphasis on a convincing poetic experience rather than simply technical excellence. We encourage poet-made films or where the filmmaker has worked closely with the poet. We also encourage work from poets who are new to poetry film.

Submissions are currently open through June 30th. After that, the plan is to have three submissions periods per year, though new issues will appear monthly.

There’s been a real need for this kind of publication. Until now, videopoets and poetryfilm makers who have wanted to submit their work to online publications have mostly had to look for regular literary magazines that make room for videos, and with a few notable exceptions such as Atticus Review and TriQuarterly, that tends to be an afterthought. And all too often literary magazine editors want exclusive publication rights, as if they still don’t fully understand how the internet or the filmmaking world work. By contrast, the Poetry Film Live editors state that “Previously screened and shown work is fine,” and require “A link to your film/video hosted on Vimeo or YouTube” as part of the submission.

They do stipulate that “The author asserts, under his/her own liability, the complete right of use on used materials (images, words, sounds, music) that compose the artwork; the author undertakes complete liability for any breach of copyright laws,” which will exclude some remixes, but should protect them from the situation I sometimes face on Moving Poems of videos disappearing from the site due to DMCA takedown requests to (usually) YouTube from original copyright holders of remixed materials. (Though fair use/fair dealing provisions in U.S. and U.K. copyright law may protect such remixes, YouTube typically errs on the side of caution and takes a “guilty till proven innocent” approach.)

The appearance of Poetry Film Live was a complete surprise, by coincidence on my birthday — which is one day after Moving Poems’ own birthday (she’s eight). So as you can imagine I was really happy to see such a promising new publication joining our not very crowded field, based in a country where — unlike the U.S. — poetry-film actually enjoys some recognition from the poetry establishment as well as in the very active spoken-word scene. Here’s hoping they become a vital and influential player in the poetry-film world.

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