~ Filmmaker: Quinn Kelly ~

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!)