~ Filmmaker: Fiona Tinwei Lam ~

Un/Write by Fiona Tinwei Lam

Vancouver-based poet and poetry filmmaker Fiona Tinwei Lam collaborated with animation students Lara Renaud and Quinn Kelly back in February on this videopoem “about revision, redaction, and renewal.” Lam told me in an email that

It originated in a published shaped or visual poem on the page about the editing and revising process. I quickly created and brainstormed a text block from which the poem would be carved out on screen.

But I realized there were other poems within the poem while utilizing further compression and fragmentation. Then I noticed there were a few interesting phrases in the discarded text from the text block I’d created for the initial poem, that could form the basis of a new poem about reclamation. So these “cut out” phrases could return on screen in a new way.

She added that she thought it could form the basis of a fun lesson plan for schools and community writing workshops, and I agree. One of the great things about erasure poetry is the way it reminds us that no creation is truly ex nihilo; there’s always an element of discovery. And often with such serendipity comes joy, flowering of its own accord, as the animation suggests. A wonderful start to Poetry Month. (And imagine my surprise just now, bringing up the Canadian National Poetry Month page, to find that this year’s theme is in fact joy!)

Utility Pole by Fiona Tinwei Lam and Mary McDonald

A very effective collaboration between two Canadian poetry filmmakers, Mary McDonald and Vancouver poetry laureate Fiona Tinwei Lam. Here’s the description from Vimeo:

Utility Pole is a poetry film collaboration between poet Fiona Tinwei Lam and poetry filmmaker Mary McDonald. Utility Pole explores the transformation of trees into the poles that hold our communications, the many branched network that connect us, as the trees have been severed from each other and their own living networks.

The soundscape is a binaural, 360 soundscape featuring a mix of urban forest sounds, with the sounds of technology today and the pointed call of Morse code, our earliest technologically enabled transatlantic communication. Morse code recording is from Freesound.org credits, Bryce835.

This was featured at the indispensable Poetry Film Live site. Go there to read the poet-filmmakers’ bios. As they note, the text of the poem appears in Tinwei Lam’s third collection, Odes & Laments.

Plasticpoems by Fiona Tinwei Lam

A brilliant concrete videopoem directed and produced by Canadian poet Fiona Tinwei Lam with animation by Nhat Truong and sound design by Tinjun Niu. The Vimeo description notes that

This short animated video depicts two concrete/visual poems by poet Fiona Tinwei Lam from her collection of poems Odes & Laments about marine plastic pollution.

It won the Judges’ Award for Best Poetry Video, REELpoetry Houston 2020, which is how I knew about it: I was one of those judges.

Omelet by Fiona Tinwei Lam

The poet, Fiona Tinwei Lam, also directed and produced this film, with animation by Toni Zhang and Claire Stewart. The text has appeared in Enter the Chrysanthemum (Caitlin Press, 2009) and Poet to Poet, edited by Julia Roorda and Elana Wolff (Guernica Editions, 2012).