Posts By Jane Glennie

Jane Glennie's award-winning poetry films have screened at festivals across the world. She works with still photographs to create films with a layered visual aesthetic that is abstract, painterly and floods the imagination. She is also a typographer and book designer, founder of Peculiarity Press publishing artists' books.

25th Poesiefestival Berlin

Tickets now available for the 25th Poesiefestival festival in Berlin, Germany, from 4–21 July 2024. The programme is now online at their website

The film elements in 2024 includes a screening of The Book of Conrad followed by a Q&A with CAConrad, and a Best Of ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival. Over the whole event there are a total of three exhibitions, 12 events and more than 60 participating Berlin poets, musicians and artists.

Event: Awakening to Timelessness

An evening of film, poetry and music in New Zealand, inspired by Titirangi and its rainforest surrounds on 18th June 2024.

The programme at this live event includes live poetry readings with musicians and a dancer as well as films. The organisers say:

Ron Riddell will read selections from his recent poetry books, with translations in Spanish by Saray Torres de Riddell. He will be accompanied on Raeul Pierard on cello and Stuart Lithgow on oboe.

Gus Simonovic will present a series of his works in an improvised dialogue with the musicians and a contemporary dancer. In his own words: “For a poet, any language is just one big playground. Poetry exists somewhere in the illusive space between words and music. Trying to fit visible and invisible, shapes and figures, radiances and feelings into words is essentially an impossible task and a thrilling challenge.”

Martin Sercombe will present cine collaborations with Ron Riddell and Gus Simonovic, alongside short films inspired by the poetry of e.e. cummings.

Weimar Poetryfilmtage 2024

This year in person 31 May/1 June, with the online playlists available until 15 June 2024, the festival in Weimar always has a thoughtful and thorough programme of poetry film. It is all very well documented on their website and in a downloadable pdf programme:

In this year’s prize award the organisers say they received “479 films from 51 different countries … the program commission nominated 12 films for the competition”. But do take a look at what else is on the programme beyond the competition selection.

Stepping stones in Cancer Alley

The Lyra Festival is Bristol’s (UK) poetry festival, and 2024 is the festival’s sixth edition. The theme for this year was Poetic Futures, with a focus on technology and the future and also imaginative new worlds.

I was invited to view Cancer Alley, a poetry film created by UK poet, Lucy English, with US filmmakers Pamela Falkenberg and Jack Cochran, with digital media effects company Holotronica.

Title screen of Cancer Alley

The film itself is a powerful insight into the lack of responsibility that multinational companies take (or governments enforce) for the impact of their activities on the environment. It highlights the industrial area of ‘Cancer Alley’ in Louisiana and the devastating problem of pollution created by the factories at the heart of the global petrochemical industry. It is impossible not to be deeply disturbed by the situation humanity finds itself in, and reflect on past situations that we still haven’t learnt from. A short poetry film is vastly apart from an Oscar-nominated blockbuster on so many counts (not least budget of course), but I think it is a compliment to the quality of this film that I brought to mind Erin Brockovich and felt depressed that 24 years on from the film, and 50+ years on from the Hinkley ground water contamination incident that it features, that here is another horrible situation that is, inevitably, just one of so many more around the world. I hope that the film is a tiny stepping stone to widening knowledge of Cancer Alley.

Still image from Cancer Alley

The film was presented as a continuous loop at the Watershed arts centre in Bristol. It was situated in its own darkened space, just off the main bar, and was free to enter and exit at will. The audience steps in and faces the double screen presentation, where they can watch standing or sitting.

This was a great venue because it was open all day for curious people to drop in and take a look. For me, I think the chance encounter is hugely valuable for drawing in audiences from a wider base than would choose to specifically attend a film screening of any kind of poetry or art film. The film was prominently featured in the brochure for the festival too, which I think is very encouraging for poetry film. It can be all too easy for organisers to put events that run for a duration at the back of a brochure (where they are easily overlooked), after the ‘headliner’ daily events. I hope this encouraged festival visitors to plan to drop in to the Watershed before, or after, their ticketed events, and people hanging out at the bar for a coffee or some lunch to take a look too.

The film was advertised as a poetry film hologram exhibition. I have to say, this was the most disappointing thing about the presentation. With hologram in the description, I was expecting a 3-d element to the film and felt I was mis-sold on that. I’d been hoping for something more like the ‘Apparition’ I’d seen of a Dominique Gonzales-Foerster piece in her retrospective exhibition a few years ago that was in Dusseldorf and Paris, but in the poetry film genre. I’ve since checked to see if I had misunderstood the nature of holograms, but a generally defining feature of them is the creation of a 3-dimensional effect. Cancer Alley is presented with a layered element. The film is split between footage that appears on a back wall, and images and text that is on a foreground transparent gauze screen. Together these are beautifully done. I particularly liked the integration of the type on screen, and the images of smoke and yellow rain. However, for me, these are flat layers rather than 3-dimensions, albeit with a depth to them.

Holotronica, the company that English, Falkenberg and Cochran worked with on this, does create 3-dimensional presentations, and in fact claims itself as ‘world-leaders in hologram effects’, with many amazing shows and events, including Beyoncé, on their website. They have specialist products for projection – including the specialist gauze screen. Unfortunately, though the quality of the image on the foreground gauze was just beautiful, it was extremely hard to appreciate when the projection on the back wall was on a screen that did not fill the ‘window’ in the gauze. The surroundings of the back screen are all too visible because they were not blacked out. I had to work hard to suspend disbelief that I wasn’t looking through the gauze layer into a classroom with a whiteboard (effectively I was), and that a teacher wasn’t going to appear soon to set geography homework on the effects of pollution.

Installation view: smoke and lettering on foreground translucent screen, with oil industry images on background screen.

But there were also serendipitous pluses at work too. There were points at which the projection spilled onto the ceiling and the adjacent metal pipework and surrounded the viewer, and those moments felt stunningly immersive. They brought me into a comparison with feelings I had inside the Sarah Sze and Artangel project ‘Waiting Room’ last summer in Peckham Rye, London.

Images from the films where they fell across the room and ceiling

I was fortunately able to chat to all three of the creators, Lucy, Pam, and Jack, after I watched the film. They see the result at the Watershed as their pilot project, something that they would like to build upon, leading to something better and more ambitious in the future. For this event specifically, they are fully aware of the limitations of the technical presentation of the film at the Watershed. Budget is always an issue because the technical equipment is very expensive, and it does create limitations and compromises. They would have liked to have been able to black out the area behind the gauze. Some artists are of the mindset that they would not show their work in less-than-ideal conditions. But I am very much with Pam on her views that doing something and showing work on a shoestring is better than doing nothing – it can only mean learning from the process and helping to demonstrate what is possible and what might be achieved in future. They would love to be able to bring this work to other venues, and I hope it helps them, and others, to bring poetry film installation ideas to fruition in the future.

From left to right: Pamela Falkenberg, Jack Cochran (Outlier Moving Pictures), Lucy English

It is sad that creatives are so often put in the difficult position of doing something with nothing or very little, and/or funding it themselves. The technology is paid for, the technical staff are paid for and little is left for either the details of fulfilling the true creative potential of the work that has been created, or paying the artists fairly. (I recommend anyone interested in this to check out the campaign of UK-based artist Lindsay Seers – Frank Fair Artists Pay)

It is also interesting to reflect on the differences between this and the VR experience Abandoned Library that I saw at the MIX 2023 conference at the British Library. The VR meant that the creatives were in full control of the ‘environment’ in which the viewer was placed. There were similarities in the environmental theme, and the use of smoke, mist and rain to create mood and feeling for the piece. However, VR is still so restrictive and uncomfortable to experience. I’m not sure I would readily swap the ease of stepping into a room and comfortably sitting down, for something I’ve got to wait my turn for or book a slot, then sitting awkwardly in a swivel seat while someone (at far too close quarters) adjusts the headset while I feel like I am about to have a minor medical procedure. I would rather be in a room with Cancer Alley.

Like Pam Falkenberg, I am always going to be a fan of doing something on whatever basis you can manage regardless. Poetry film is a powerful genre, but making events and opportunities where it can step up a level to become impactful through immersion is, for me, something to keep pushing for. Cancer Alley is to be celebrated as another stepping stone forward in presenting poetry film in more immersive and creative ways.

Nederlands Poeziefilm Festival

I first visited the Netherlands in the early 1990s on a field trip with my Typography & Graphic Communication degree. Over the course of two field trips we were lucky to take during the course, we also visited Belgium, Germany and Italy. We really got the feeling that the Netherlands values design and creative output perhaps more than the rest of Europe and my own UK. Over the years since, my impression hasn’t really changed.

The Nederlands Poeziefilm Festival has been running for a couple of years so far. It is Netherlands focussed and not international. I’m sure if you’re from the Netherlands you will know it already or will want to check it out. The 2024 edition will be 8-9 November this year.

But I would also encourage all curators and festival organisers to have a look at the website and programme, and infer (if you don’t speak Dutch and are relying on Google translate) what Hans Heesen, Helmie Stil and Lex Veerkamp are achieving with their festival in a small country with a niche genre.

I’m sure it is still not easy to achieve,  but it’s exciting to see what the possibilities might be given a positive following wind.

Calls for work: latest round-up

I’ll illustrate this round-up with a trailer excerpt from a personal favourite that I saw this week from the online Juried Selections at REELPoetry Festival in Houston. I Dream my Dream by Monique van Kerkhof and Bo Oudendijk.

Dreaming about showing your work? From Australia to Mexico and other points in between, there are film festivals that are awaiting poetry films. Recent posts here on Moving Poems have included Drumshanbo, Resonans, and Maldito, and these are still open, as well as Midwest which was listed back in January.

In Australia there is a new poetry film festival to be held in conjunction with the Poets on the Mountain Festival and they are looking for Australian poetry films and Australian Bush Poetry films. Deadline 30 June.

La Poesia Che Si Vede is an international competition for poetry films based in Ancona, Italy. The organisers say that “poetry film for La Poesia che si vede is total poetry, without discrimination of genre or format”. Deadline 27 May.

Fotogenia in Mexico City has been running for 6 years. It has a varied programme that includes categories such as avant-garde feature films and video art, with a specific film poetry category. They do have a number of specific rules though – do check carefully. These include mandatory Spanish subtitles if your film is to be shown in the in-person screening, and that films cannot be shown online at any other public website. Deadline 31 July.

Call for work: Drumshanbo 2024

The 3rd Annual Drumshanbo Written Word Poetry Film Competition is now open for entries on Film freeway at Drumshanbo in County Leitrim, Ireland, a beautiful lakelands town hosts an annual literary festival in August. The festival brings together some of Ireland’s finest writers and poets. As part of this they host an annual poetry film competition open to all. Each year there is an evening where shortlisted films are screened as part of the opening ceremony.

Shortlisted films will be shown on Friday 23rd Aug 2024. There will be a 1st Prize of €500 Films of up to 10 minutes are welcome.

Festival circuit round-up

It’s the New Year and perhaps a good time to be thinking about film festivals and competitions. Is this the year you will enter for the first time? Or to bring an, as yet, unseen project to light? Or to think about what new films you might create in 2024 …

But first, with a quick pause for thought (or maybe to take the actions suggested) – here is a throwback to a lovely little film posted on Moving Poems way back in 2012.



And now, here are the major festivals for poetry films coming up for entry (linked to their FilmFreeway page where you will find more details). Some were first posted earlier when the calls initially went out (but a reminder that the deadline is coming up closer), and others are fresh!

Remember to check all the rules of entry carefully to make sure you comply (or it is just irritating for the organisers), and make your own judgements on whether to enter.  These are all established events, but be aware that there are some dodgy festivals out there that have little merit in getting your film exposed to an interested audience but will take hefty sums in entry fees.

No need to rush it either … festivals and deadlines are an ongoing roll, and if you miss one, there will always be another festival or another year that comes along. Often there is a long or an unlimited timeframe in which a completed film will be eligible, and no impact if you don’t get on the case immediately.

Read more about entering festivals in this past interview with Adam Stone on Moving Poems.

Wishing everyone good luck in 2024!

Set texts, poetry film, & William Blake

William Blake – engraving, 1793

Over the span of three children, and 15+ years of connection with schools, I have frequently despaired of the fundamental way in which English Language and Literature is taught here in the UK. The language component is best addressed by Michael Rosen in his poem The ‘Expected Level’ (according to the National Curriculum) (published in Listening to a Pogrom on the Radio, Smokestack Books, 2017). And I do blame the curriculum, rather than individual teachers.

As Michael shares the poem in full on his blog, I’m going to copy it here because it so well worth a read:

Writing at the Expected Level

Michael Rosen

If you can write and make sense
remember,  it’s not enough
If you can write and make people laugh
remember, it’s not enough
If you can write and make people cry
remember, it’s not enough
If you can write and make people desperate to know what happens next,
remember, it’s not enough
If you can write and make people feel good,
remember, it’s not enough
If you can write and make people think and wonder,
remember, it’s not enough
If you can write and make people want to be where you went,
remember, it’s not enough
If you can write and make people want to be some of the people
you’ve written about
remember, it’s not enough
If you can write and make people want to read more and more and more
remember, it’s not enough

if you can write something
that no one is particularly interested in,
no one is desperate to read more and more,
no one laughed or cried or wanted to be where you went
or wanted to know what happened next,
no one wondered about what you had written,
you included commas, semi-colons, colons,
expanded noun phrases, fronted adverbials, and
embedded relative clauses
over and over and over again
that’s enough.

I can say, without a doubt, that the curriculum here in England utterly stifled any interest and enthusiasm any of my three children had in writing. I firmly believe the interest and enjoyment has to come first in order to move forward, and to be fair – we did have a primary school head who did believe in this as a philosophy to get children to read. But she was an outlier, a marvellous maverick in leopard print who wasn’t going to let a National curriculum get in the way of children learning.

On the literature side, none of my children has built a positive relationship with literature either, and my biggest gripe is the restricted selection of texts that are studied, which certainly doesn’t help in finding one’s connection to it. Certainly at GCSE level (age 16) there are too few contemporary texts. In my view, and backed up by those far more informed than me, such as Mary Ann Sieghart and Professor Bernadine Evaristo, there is a sheer lack of diversity in the material studied.There is not much we can do about the restrictions of the curriculum itself, but as poetry filmmakers, I do think we can, at least, add poetry film as a way in to enjoying and interpreting the set texts that are studied across the world. Wouldn’t reaching just one student and enthusing them be brilliant, and more than one be amazing?

My son said to me ‘Mum, why don’t you make one of your films on the poems we do at school?’ – and now that is firmly on my to-do list. But it struck me that we could all have a go. I couldn’t do justice to all the texts anyway, and nor should I.

So with these thoughts in mind, I thought I’d have an explore. Maybe these needs have already been addressed? I chose London by William Blake to investigate as a sample. This is one of the set texts for GCSE English Literature in England within the theme of ‘Power & Conflict’. I searched on YouTube as this is the platform that teachers and students are most likely to search.nnThe top six results give three results by well known actors. We get the voice and still photograph of Ralph Richardson. Yawn…

A headshot film of Toby Jones…

And a moody film by Esquire magazine, featuring Idris Elba…

There’s a ‘dramatic’ reading, with archive still images (in a not very dramatic treatment)…

An extract from a Simon Schama BBC documentary The Romantic Revolution featuring Hip-Hop artist Testament…

And an illustrative approach by English teacher and illustrator, Robert Simpson…

I think the last two are the most appealing and engaging in terms of bringing me closer to Blake’s poem. But I think the poetry film community could create something infinitely more exciting and engaging than any of these.

The last film by Robert Simpson is actually part of a wider attempt to do what I’m suggesting. On his YouTube channel Comics & Lit he has a series of films and says:

“My aim is to deliver captivating and visually stunning revision materials specifically designed for literature students who are preparing for their literature exams. With my unique comic art style illustrations, I strive to breathe new life into a range of texts, making them come alive for a new generation of students. Currently, I’m hard at work crafting beautifully illustrated readings for the AQA Power and Conflict collection. Additionally, I’m producing insightful analysis videos that delve into the intricate themes and elements found within power and conflict poetry and Shakespeare’s Macbeth and Romeo and Juliet.”

It’s an ambitious start, in less than a year from the earliest videos as well, but I feel I’ve seen better films in animation/illustration as well as other modes of filmmaking, and so still think we can do more for students. Maybe a competition/festival would be a way to get people involved in making the best poetry films for schools across the world? Or why not just do one or two anyway?

Winners at Zebra Poetry Film Festival 2023 Berlin

The Zebra International Poetry Film Festival took place from 12 to 15 October at Haus für Poesie and Kino in der Kulturbrauerei in Berlin, Germany. A jury of Rosa Maria Hopp (editorial director MDR), Federico Italiano (poet) and Maria Mohr (filmmaker and film educator) selected three films for awards from the shortlist of 25 poetry films selected for the international competition. The festival attracts around 1,200 entries from over 90 countries.

The 2023 ZEBRA Prize for the Best International Poetry Film went to Fitzgerald & Rimini – D Frou Bovary de Porrentruy by Yannick Mosimann from Switzerland, with a poem by Ariane von Graffenried.

In their statement, the jury said:Hemmed in by the mountains, this film not only features a protagonist trapped in the dreariness of daily life but also an image frozen in time—sometimes the 16 mm image is torn, sometimes doubled. And then, there’s that battered post rock over and over. It’s a perfect whirlwind of cinematic elements, interwoven with the three languages of the extraordinary poem that fuels them. And in between, there’s that “disturbing woman.” Hardly any phrase encapsulates this film as well as, “Mrs. Bovary from Porrentruy isn’t who she wants to be / Her needs are big, her life’s petit.””

The Goethe Film Award – Borders went to Kin ma belle by Junior Mozese from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, who is also author of the poem the film is based on.nn jury’s statement: “There are no protagonists in this film, just a city that reveals itself through its contradictions and weaknesses. Singing its praises, the lyrical voice observes the metropolis from unexpected angles, from the sidewalks, from the depths of landfills, in the cracks of life—between healing and exclusion. The film is a vibrant love song to the wayside. This year’s Goethe Film Award goes to an entry that utilizes documentary techniques: “Kin ma belle” by Junior Mozese.”

The 2023 Ritter Sport Film Award went to Legs by Jennifer Still, Christine Fellows and Chantel Mierau from Canada, based on a poem by Jennifer Still.nThe jury’s statement: “Legs create a gap that connects several generations of women. Between a kid’s birthday party and swimming pools, the bodies—shells—cultivate a playful life of their own. The film distinguishes itself through its unique object creations and an extraordinary timing that often borders on the absurd. Colorful mourning in glitter. What’s left when the body’s gone? Stockings.”

Two special mentions were given by the jury.

The first one is a special mention of the Goethe Film Award for Satane Sefid by Shiva Sadegh Asadi from Iran, both director and author of the poem the film is based on: “How should one narrate a border crossing that affects the most intimate sphere? In tightly framed, claustrophobic images, the Iranian filmmaker Shiva Sadegh Asadi succeeds in showing that the private is always political. Woman, life, freedom!”

The second one is a special mention of the Ritter Sport Film Award for Meanwhile, somewhere in the state of Colorado by the Italian Gloria Regonesi, based on a poem by Simon Armitage: “Sometimes, the greatest art lies in visualizing the absolute. Through the simplicity of its visual language, this film is able to emphasize the power of poet Simon Armitage’s words without ever overshadowing them. Unpretentious and free of cliches.”

The ZEBRino Poetry Film Festival audience also awarded an audience award. The 2023 ZEBRino Award for the Best Poetry Film for children and youth was awarded to Abri by Julie Daravan Chea from France, based on a poem by Esther Granek.

A special mention was given to the film Swallows love by Mariya Onishckenko from the Ukraine, based on the Volkslied Shum.

Thoughts on filmmaker/poem dynamics and collaborations

In the summer, I attended MIX Digital Storytelling Conference 2023 … and reviewed the event for Moving Poems. I briefly mentioned the excellent keynote speaker at the event – Adrian Hon. But I realised that his talk has prompted some wider thoughts about collaboration in poetry film. Adrian Hon is big in the computer gaming world, and a particular plea in his speech was a call for creatives (in the context of MIX he meant largely writers but I think his point applies to visual artists equally) to be involved with technology at all stages of development and production of a project. Creatives need opportunities to prototype ideas so that they can better understand how a project might develop when people with other skills work on it. I wholeheartedly agree, and hope his vision will have influence. A popular question for any creative is to explain how a project came into existence, and what happens behind the scenes in the development of a project. In particular, in the poetry film world where so many films are made by such small teams or partnerships, it is common to talk about or be asked about how the filmmaker has collaborated with the writer. Do they get involved together at an early stage as advocated by Adrian?

Coyote Wedding – drawing and poem by Brittani Sonnenberg, film by Jane Glennie

I began reflecting on the films I have made, and they have come about in numerous different ways. I’ve made films from pre-existing poems. This means having a personal response to a poem and expressing that in film. But even this simple beginning can have different situations. Do I know the poet personally or not? Do I have any contact or discussion with the poet before or during the making of the film? Is the contact in person, or by email/messaging? Have I chosen the poem? Or has the poet chosen me to make a film? I think all of this can change the dynamic in the filmmaker’s relationship with the poem.

Film still – I’ll write about it later – Jessie Jing

Sometimes the poet might be the filmmaker themselves. There are lots of examples to explore on Moving Poems – search ‘author-made videopoems‘ and you will find Valerie LeBlanc and Daniel Dugas, Jessie Jing, Marc Neys, Matt Mullins, Janet Lees and many more. Early on, I decided I would try to make a film from my own writing, and though the result is similar to my other work in its technique and imagery, I know that my approach to the visual ideas in this film felt very different because as I wrote the words I had images in my mind.nnI have made work collaboratively with writers. I’ve discussed the ideas for a film with a writer who went away and wrote a poem, recorded the voice and then I made my film. I’ve discussed ideas for a film with Lucy English for her Book of Hours project, then wrote a short second voice response to her poem (Glitter – December evening in the Book of Hours), so the writing became a joint poem, and then I made the film. I collaborated even more deeply with Rosie Garland for Because Goddess is Never Enough.

Having discussion and input into projects has been rewarding in all instances – but it was quite different with Rosie. This time, the idea for the project came from me. I researched the subject and gave a dossier of material, texts and images to Rosie. She came back to me with snippets and first drafts which we were able to discuss and develop, and she was very open to my edits and changes to words and the ordering of the poems of the final piece. I also changed the first and third person voice around in some places. Some of the changes and edits happened as I worked on and developed the films. There have been dynamics that I have enjoyed, and I’ve been stimulated by collaboration. But equally it can be enjoyable to just try making a film in response to only the words of a poem – to be responsible for the reading (whether myself or choosing another voice), and be free of any connection to the writer. Marie Craven has told me that she will sometimes make a film without necessarily asking the poet first – she wants to try things out in an independent way that might not necessarily work. Then if she finishes the film she will ask later, and has only once had a rejection.

If the thought of taking Marie’s approach worries you, then there is no shortage of out-of-copyright poetry to play with. Or, as a final thought – there is also found poetry and erasure poetry to play with, another scenario for a filmmaker to explore. In fact this was my route into poetry film before I knew it existed as a genre. Channel Swimmer was my first film, and it was made with texts extracted from two novels. Often a very successful process for Matt Mullins, for one.

I can’t pinpoint what the differences might be in the end results of any film, but I do think that this idea of changing the dynamics of involvement in a project is a very interesting part of my filmmaking journey. Some approaches have felt more comfortable and successful, and some less so. I encourage you to mix it up and experiment with something different to your norm.

MIX 2023: Storytelling in immersive media

The seventh MIX conference was this year held in collaboration with the British Library to coincide with their exhibition on Digital Storytelling.

British Library – London, UK

MIX describes itself as an innovative forum for the discussion and exploration of writing and technology, attracting an international cohort of contributors. I, for one, feel like it achieves this aim. I’d last attended in 2019, and this year the event was much bigger. In many ways, this is a great thing – more people interested and excited by what can happen with literature, stories and poetry in the digital world. But it is also a trade-off. There were multiple sessions that ran simultaneously throughout the day. Which can be good if you know exactly what you do and don’t want to hear about, and are interested in a particular niche. But I do like a smaller event where, largely, everyone attends every presentation because there is only one strand. You discover unexpected things, and in a break, everyone has heard everyone and it is easier to pick up on the points of connection and mutual interest, or debate, and to take that forward into later conversations or long-term collaborations.

In the exhibition there are a variety of approaches to digital literature that can be seen and experienced. I’m left feeling I’m still waiting for digital literature to find its own aesthetic. The game-based examples of digital storytelling look like games to me – which is fine, but I can’t really comment because I don’t know enough about games. However, in the area of digital literature that are not game-based (including short stories, poetry and longer literature) but are designed uniquely, the examples that I saw are very strongly tied to classic book aesthetics. Either with shades of William Morris and the private press movement, or with the clichéd scrapbook/photo album aesthetic. I really feel I want to see something that has more innovative design that is not signalling ‘yes, we know you might be unsure of digital literature … but it’s ok, don’t panic, it looks like an old-fashioned book/scrapbook/pop-up book’. Those examples might be out there but I didn’t see them in the exhibition. Having said that though, there are some interesting things to see.

Seed Story by Joanna Walsh (screenshot)

Seed Story by Joanna Walsh is very beautiful to look at but as much as I can appreciate that there is a different way of navigating through the text in different orders, I wasn’t sure I felt I knew why I would want to. I can do that with a hard-copy book. I can read chapters out of sequence or flick through and dip in and out, and often do, and enjoy the artefact in my hands. I guess though, Seed Story creates something of that experience and it needs to be compared to reading on an e-book reader where there are no cues to read in a different way, dipping in and out, reading in a different order or skimming are actually quite difficult. The navigational approach of Seed Story could be really interesting in connection with a collection of poetry or poetry films.

This is a picture of wind – by J. R. Carpenter (screenshot)

Poetry is represented by This is a Picture of Wind – a weather poem for phones by J.R. Carpenter.

During the conference itself, I then discovered the VR experience The Abandoned Library by Dreaming Methods. The VR creates a compelling world with lapping seashore, dripping rain, and blowing dust, in which to experience what could easily be described as a moving poem. There is spoken poetry in the audio, and poetry written in the landscape you see in front of you, and archive film clips, but everything contributed together to a very poetic experience. It was more than the sum of its parts in the best tradition of poetry film.

The keynote speaker Adrian Hon was great, and I particularly appreciated his call for creatives to be involved with technology at all stages of development and production of a project – this, I feel, is can be true for poetry filmmaking collaborations.

Panel 5 featured poetry film in Narratives of Climate Crisis – voicing loss, resistance and hope through the poetry film. The audience heard from Sarah Tremlett and Csilla Toldy, though sadly Janet Lees was unable to attend.

Sarah Tremlett presenting at MIX 2023

A further poetry film cameo was in Panel 12: Remixing the archive – creative digital reimaging, reworking and reuse. I shared the new project that I’m working on with writer Toby Martinez de las Rivas and sound artist Neda Milenova Mirova that uses, and is inspired by, a photographic archive at the Museum of English Rural Life.

Thank you to all the MIX team that put the event together. I look forward to another one.

The exhibition in London is open until 15 October 2023.