~ Nationality: Greece ~

Life Sentence by Sissy Doutsiou

Moving Poems‘ own Jane Glennie, an award-winning film-maker in the UK, teams up with Greek poet and performer Sissy Doutsiou for this urgent, angry protest video titled Life Sentence.

The music by Rolvd is a key part of the piece, which in some ways resembles music video. Recording, mixing and mastering are credited to Incognito M and Pipeline Music Lab. Doutsiou’s spoken-word performance of the text is powerful in the mix.

Jane Glennie brings her signature kinetic animation style to the video. Well-chosen images and visual textures flicker in a rapid stream, meeting well with the voice and music.

Aside from her writing and performance work, Sissy Doutsiou has over the past decade been director of the International Video Poetry Festival in Athens, and editor of the more recent Film Poetry website.

What I fear most is becoming “a poet” by Katerina Gogou

This took the top honors in the 9th Ó Bhéal poetry film competition last fall, and I can see why. It’s a masterclass in bringing still images to life—and they’re powerful images, too: flaming trumpets facing off; an empty chair birthing clouds or smoke juxtaposed with the text “I fear that i might learn to use meter and rhythm / and thus I will be trapped within them”; clouds circling overhead as the words “they see to us being ashamed for not working” appear. Filmmaker Janet Lees‘ deep images are usually in service to her own texts, but this was a commissioned film, as the Vimeo description makes clear:

Filmmaker: Janet Lees
Poet: Katerina Gogou
Translator: G Chalkiadakis
Composer/musician: Tromlhie
Produced by +the Institute for Experimenal Arts and commissioned by the art platform filmpoetry.org, as part of the Digital Culture Programme, Ministry of Culture / Greece.

Katerina Gogou (1949-1993) was Greece’s greatest modern anarchist poetess. Her poems have become synonymous with the radical culture of Greece and with Exarcheia, the Athens neighbourhood known as the anarchist quarter. Born into the Nazi occupation of Greece, she lived through the years of far right military junta oppression and the country’s resurgent anarchist movement in the 1980s. An activist herself, she became a prophet of the movement and her poems anthems for it. She died of an overdose on 3 October 1993.

The judges’ comments may be read in the announcement post on +the Institute for Experimental Arts website:

There were so many beautiful filmpoems entered into the competition, I loved watching every single one of them, and appreciated all of the work, imagination and innovation that went into making them. In the end, the piece called What I fear most is becoming a poet stood out as a stunning example of filmpoetry as a unique art form. Janet Lees has created a powerful visual rendering of Katerina Gogou’s poem. I was both floored and inspired by it. Comhghairdeas ó chroí!
Paula Kehoe

What I fear most is becoming “a poet” is such an evocative and moving piece. Katerina Gogou’s poem, enormous in itself which speaks so intimately about the poet’s world of peril and uncertainty, met with this filigreed balance of soft pianissimo and perfectly-paced typography, the haunting, completely captivating visuals, the almost hesitant text (in places), and the very absence of voice bringing us so much closer to the poet’s inner sanctum… all just fantastically done. A highly worthy winner.
Paul Casey

From the same source, here’s Janet’s director’s note:

For me this poem resounds with the psychological distress Katerina experienced as a result of experiencing and bearing witness to collective trauma. Despair and loneliness hover over every line, but there is also a core of steel in the shape of her unwavering conviction and commitment to the cause and to her people. To bring this great poem to life as a poetry film, I drew on my own urban images and footage. In animating the stills, I used the recurring motif of fire and smoke to indicate rebellion and oppression/passion and despair. I worked with the composer/musician Tromlhie to bring out the poem’s emotional journey in musical form and to complement the poem’s slow build – layer upon layer of the fear of ‘becoming “a poet”’.

The northern Ireland-based CAP Monthly interviewed Janet after her win about how she came to poetry film and how she looks at it. It’s well worth a read.

Θυμήσου, Σώμα… (Remember, Body…) by C. P. Cavafy

Body, remember not only how much you were loved
not only the beds you lay on.
but also those desires glowing openly
in eyes that looked at you,
trembling for you in voices—
only some chance obstacle frustrated them.
Now that it’s all finally in the past,
it seems almost as if you gave yourself
to those desires too—how they glowed,
remember, in eyes that looked at you,
remember, body, how they trembled for you in those voices.
translation by George Barbanis

Dancer/choreographer Konstantina Ntinapogia directs this collaborative “embodiment” of a poem by the great 20th-century Greek poet Cavafy. Since the English translation is not included in subtitles, only in the Vimeo description, viewers without Greek may, if they choose, rely on the choreography alone for meaning. And we’ve always been interested in dance as a medium for poetry here. Like poetry film itself, dance can be seen as a form of translation. Similarly, this could be seen as a music video, since the commission included an original composition based on the poem by artist(s) of the director’s choice. The band Ntinapogia chose to work with is called Lost Bodies. She notes:

As part of the 30 Days of Poetry project coordinated by choreographer Olga Spyraki, I was invited to dance and choreograph in collaboration with a musician of my choice. Our instructions were for the music to be original and made on a poem that we would bring together with the composer. This particular poem is by the famous Greek poet Konstantine P. Cavafy entitled “Thimisou, Soma…” that means “Remember, Body…” and my screen-dance is 1:37 minutes [long]. […]

How could this poem be embodied? How does body memory wake up? What is the color of passion? were some of my most basic questions. In this particular video-dance I worked not only as a dancer and choreographer but also as a director / cinematographer since I also dealt with the perspectives of the space, the use of the camera and I also did the editing. I am incredibly pleased with the process of research and composition.

Music: Lost Bodies
Song: “Thimisou, Soma…”
Dancer/Performer: Konstantina Ntinapogia
Camera: Marilena Dionysopoulou
Montaj: Konstantina Ntinapogia, Ioannis Makropoulos

Find a Way to Meet Each Other by Tasos Sagris + Whodoes

A chaotic, hedonistic vision of—and soundtrack for—urban revolution. Greek videopoet Tasos Sagris collaborates with the musician/composer Whodoes. This is the digital single and official video clip from their upcoming LP, Phenomenology of the Guillotine.

Sagris directed the video, with camera work by Alkistis Kafetziis and actors Sissy Doutsiou, Lily Tsesmatzoglou, Katerina Pantouli, Ioanna Kordoni, and Anastasia. They sent us some promotional material, which is worth quoting at some length as one example of an alternative to the more standard ways in which poetry tends to be published and disseminated.

The TASOS SAGRIS + WHODOES duo presents the sound of endless metropolitan pressure. Through his poetry, Tasos Sagris photographs the current era on a political, social and existential level, domestically and globally, asking questions about the present and the future of this world, looking for moments of revolt and escape routes. The synthetic diversity of Whodoes enhances the emotional meaning of the words with post-rock, darkwave, ambient, new classical, avant-garde, electronica and ethnic compositions that travel lyrically while giving a cinematic dimension to the whole work.

The above mix with synchronized video art screenings in their live performances is a unique experience for the public, which makes it special in its artistic categories. Breaking the barrier of classical poetry gatherings, they tour for concerts and performances in Greece and in institutions of known value abroad, such as the Frankfurt School of Fine Arts (Portikus Museum), the London School of Economics, etc.

Tasos Sagris is a poet, theater director and activist born in Athens in 1972. In 1990 he co-created the international anarchist cultural group Void Network and at 2008 the Institute for Experimental Arts- a contemporary theater group for research, performance and cultural education. He tours often in Europe, Asia, Mexico and USA for talks, multimedia poetry actions, exhibitions, performances and theater shows. His poetry is a melancholic call out for chaos, revolt, hedonism and social awareness.

Tasos Sagris was poet and frontman of the Greek music band Horror Vacui during the 90s and from early 90s until today he presents poetry events – cross platform collaborations of poets, djs, video artists and musicians. Organizing for more than 30 years festivals, events and actions in public spaces around the world he is an anarchist artist from 21st century. He participates in social movements in Greece and Europe. […]

Whodoes was born in Greece-Athens in 1981. Whodoes’ music is a combination of ambient / soundtrack music, post rock, shoe-gaze, cinematographic electronica and ethnic soundscapes. His poetic sound works like a bridge for experiences of the past to the present and the future, while at the same time sensitively approaching the functions of life in direct connection with urban environments and secret nature. Guitarist – a composer, a true fan of experimentation, research and improvisation, sharpening his imagination using foreign bodies on the guitar such as effects, violin-bow, metal slide, e-bow, wood (turning the electric guitar in a Mediterranean traditional “Santuri” instrument), combined with the use of music technology, turntables, loops and programming creating a special sound with which he composes. With his own musical identity and style, he presents alone or together with poet Tasos Sagris a unique audiovisual spectacle on stage.

There’s a Facebook page for the duo.

Transmission by Chris Sakellaridis

A gorgeous animation by Afroditi Bitzouni accompanies a recitation by the Anglo-Greek poet Chris Sakellaridis. The echo effect makes it a bit hard to understand at first, but the text is included at the end of a review at The Creators Project, which begins:

Animated paper cutouts a la Henri Matisse come together to form a visual representation of a poem influenced by the Greek mythological character Orpheus. In Transmission, illustrator and animator Afroditi Bitzouni interprets Chris Sakellaridis’s poem of the same name through a form of collage animation. The seamless fluidity of Bitzouni’s animation resembles the work of Matt Smithson in his Decoding the Mind video. Taking cues from a chilling score by John Davidson, Bitzouni creates fragmented landscapes and abstract humanoids from scraps of colored paper. The majority of the cut outs are grain layer construction paper while others look like they were taken from a magazine or book.

The film is part of the 3361 Orpheus project,

an experimental performance, that combines poetry, music, animation, dance and opera. Ιt draws inspiration from a range of retellings and adaptations of Orpheus’s myth.

The performance’s concept is based on a triptych. The dismemberment and subsequent journey of Orpheus’s head from the river Evros to the island to Lesvos and the creation of his Oracle near the Petrified Forest. The spatial, disembodied, satellite voice coming from the constellation Lyra, where the lyre was placed after his death. The fate of Orpheus’s limbs, buried near Mount Olympus.

The main characters in the narrative are Hermes, in his capacity as psychopomp and transporter of dead souls; Eurydice, recounting her own experience, in the form of shade and dryad, as well as memory; and Orpheus with his lyre, which is seen as a fourth character, a creature alive with its own vital energy.

This is Bitzouni’s second appearance at Moving Poems. Back in 2014 I shared her animation of Night by Tasos Livaditis, a video from Tin House magazine’s late, lamented videos section, Tin House Reels.

Body, remember (Θυμήσου, Σώμα) by C. P. Cavafy

A gorgeous film from 2003 by the London-based animation artist Katerina Athanasopoulou, with an English translation of a poem by Cavafy (Kavafis) in the soundtrack. Click through to Vimeo for additional credits and a list of selected screenings.

Night by Tasos Livaditis


First, a translation by Manolis Aligizakis included in the Vimeo description:

There is a door in the night that only the blind see,
darkness makes the animals hear better,
and him, staggered, not from being drunk,
but from his futile effort to climb
up to the tower we once lost.

And now for the rest of the description:

An animated interpretation of the Greek poet Tasos Livaditis’s “Night,” Afroditi Bitzouni conceived her video “when my laptop was broken.” “At that time,” she explains, “there was nothing better to do other than flipping the pages of my fairytales and reading my favorite poems. I was reading [the poem ‘Night,’] every night for months. The illustrations [in my video] were based on a drawing I had done on the bottom of the poem in the book.”


Afroditi Bitzouni is a member of Indyvisuals Design Collective. She studied Product and Systems Design Engineering at The University of the Aegean, as well as Animation at The Glasgow School of Art. Her work has appeared in the Athens Video Art Festival, LPM (Live Performers Meeting), the Athens and Epidaurus Festival, and other venues.

The sound was produced by DJ Enthro of Psyclinic Tactix.

There isn’t much about Livaditis on the web in English, but I found this blog post helpful.

Tasos Livaditis (Athens, 1922-1988) was a Greek poet. Livaditis studied law at Athens University, but soon his gift for creating poetry was discovered. He had a strong political commitment in the political left movement, and because of that he was condemned, led to exile and has been kept in prison from 1947 till 1951, among others on the island of torture Makronisos, together with Yannis Ritsos, Mikis Theodorakis and Manos Katrakis.

In 1946 the journal Elefthera Grammata published a first article . In 1952 his first volume of poems appeared battle on the edge of the night. Between 1954 and 1980 he worked as a literary critic for the newspaper Avgi. Some of his books were banned in the 1950s because of their seditious content.

Tasos Livaditis got a number of national and international awards for his poetry and was considered one of the outstanding Greek poets of the last century.

The video was uploaded by Tin House, a well-regarded print literary magazine with a growing online component, including a weekly series called Tin House Reels, where this video was featured on January 9th. Tin House Reels features “videos by artists who are forming interesting new relationships between images and words,” and is open to video submissions (though for some reason only of work that has not previously appeared on the web).

I-poem 6 by Vangelis Skouras


Pablo Lópes Jordán directed, filmed and composed the soundtrack for a text by Vangelis Skouras. Jordán noted at Vimeo:

Daily thoughts can be a form of poetry even if, or assisted by the fact that, they are not expressed face to face. Images of real life help these words gain further substance and depth.

I like the leisurely pace at which the text fragments are shared, and how well that contrasts with the more frenetic image-stream and (excellent) soundtrack.

Ithaka by C. P. Cavafy


A video by VIV G (Vivian Giourousis), using a reading from YouTube by Charles Bryant.

Compare with the interpretations of the poem shared here three years ago, the first in the original Greek from a movie-length biopic. (The second one is pretty god-awful, but a good example of a very common approach to poetry film. I was a little less picky about what I posted in the early days of this site.)

Qua Insurrection by Brian Ang and Mayakov+sky

I find this to be a visually witty commentary on Marxist cant; your milage may vary. The text is computer-generated, from Theory Arsenal, programmed by Ryan Loewen and based on the poem “Free Sets” by Brian Ang, who’s also responsible for the recitation here. The filmmaker and composer is N.O. Koumoundouros, A.K.A. Nicholas Komodore, who shares attribution with his experimental poetry project Mayakov+sky, a “Polemical Platform Constructing Potent Poetics.” What the credits call a dialogical montage includes text, so it seemed appropriate to designate Mayakov+sky as co-author in my fusty cataloguing system. Ang and Koumoundouros are both based in Oakland, California, ground zero for the cinepoetry movement.

Poem of Jealousy by Sappho

This is the Sappho poem preserved because Longinus included it in his famous treatise On the Sublime. And indeed, film student and surfer Matt Ching says he made this “for my aesthetics class project on the Sublime.” He used the translation by Horace Gregory; you can browse through a huge number of other versions on this webpage.

I like the psychadelic approach here, though the abrupt ending is unfortunate.

Rebels of This Timeless Town by Niki Andrikopoulou

Natasha Pantazopoulou and Gerry Domenikos (uncut productions) made the film for This Collection, where you can read the poem. According to the description on Vimeo, this is

A film and dance response to Niki Andrikopoulou’s poem about Edinburgh— The Athens of the North. The experimental interpretative dance with performer Vanessa Spinassa was filmed in the Ancient theatre of Ilida, Peloponnese.

Unlike most videos in the Dance category here, the filmmaking is as experimental as the dance, which gives this full videopoem status, I think.