New essay on poetry videos and the evolution of language at Ploughshares

Ploughshares, one of the most prestigious American print literary magazines, has a new essay about poetry videos up on their blog, authored by one of their regular bloggers, Ruben Quesada, himself a competent maker of poetry videos. But for this piece, he chose to look at the work of other video-making poets — David Campos, Vickie Vértiz, and Vanessa Angelica Villarreal. I’ve seen various survey articles about poetry film/video appear in journals over the years, but “American Poetry: Video and the Evolution of Language” is more historically grounded and philosophically reflective than most. Here’s the opening paragraph:

The moving image is the antithesis to a static image and therefore closer to poetry than painting. For millennia, poetry has been the sister art to painting, but poetry is not composed of “static objects extended in space but the life that is lived in the scene that it composes” (Wallace Stevens, The Necessary Angel: Essays on Reality and the Imagination). Poetry is dynamic and to understand the varied human experiences one must examine the stories it tells. It is moving images, film, video that brings us closer to the life that is lived than painting. Video complements and translates the written word.

Read the rest.

(Should we hold out hope that the Ploughshares blog or website will begin to feature poetry videos? Probably not. I keep hoping that other prestigious journals will follow TriQuarterly‘s lead, but instead the number of literary magazines carrying videos and other multimedia seems to be shrinking, I’m not sure why.)

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