~ Poet: Billy Collins ~

The Art of Drowning

This film by Diego Maclean is currently one of the most popular poetry videos on Vimeo, with 3,294 likes and 97 laudatory comments. Though the rotoscopy succeeds in mimicking the effect of a graphic novel, assuming that was the intent, I personally find it less interesting as a video interpretation of the poem than the student film by Lindsey Butler which I shared two years ago.

According to Jason Sondhi at Short of the Week, this too was a student production:

Maclean created this short film as his graduation film from the Emily Carr Institute in 2009, and it has wrapped up an impressive festival run, playing at Sundance, Annecy and SXSW among others.

The Best Cigarette by Billy Collins

One of the 11 Billy Collins animations produced by New York TV station JWT in 2007. This one was directed by Will Hyde with animation by David Vaio.

Flames by Billy Collins

A new film by Brandon Dziokonski blends animation with recycled footage from old Smokey the Bear public service anouncements.

Litany by Billy Collins

A three-year-old recites Billy Collins — another reminder that YouTube is still a vast repository of wonderfulness if you can only find it among all the dross. Fortunately, this one has gone viral. The mother says in a comment,

Billy Collins did see this and wrote a letter to my son and I. We feel very honored.

Thank you all for your kind comments. We are working on a few new poems I hope to have up very soon. If there are any suggestions as to poems you think might be good ones for him to memorize, let me know! I will consider them, if he likes them too.

Here’s Collins himself introducing and reading the poem, in a selection from Fora.TV:

The Art of Drowning by Billy Collins

Lindsey Butler directed, with narration by Nicholas Chichirda. Nice to see such a fine videopoem of Collins’ work that isn’t one of the canonical (and authorized) animations.

The Dead by Billy Collins (McDonalds remix)

Lauren Adolfsen spliced together some footage from old McDonald’s commercials to make a new video for Billy Collins’ poem. This uses the same audio as the animation by Juan Delcan, which was one of the 11 videopoems authorized by the poet. I am not sure he’d approve of this one, but it definitely changes the way I think of the poem.

The Country by Billy Collins

Another in the popular series of animated Billy Collins poems produced by JWT-NY. This one’s by Brady Baltezore. Purely as a cartoon, I think it might be the most satisfying of the lot.

The Dead by Billy Collins

Billy Collins reads his poem “The Dead” with animation by Juan Delcan of Spontaneous.

Forgetfulness by Billy Collins

This seemed an appropriate video with which to resume my now-and-then posting of the Billy Collins poetry animations, which are justly famous among fans of contemporary vidpo. How had I forgotten about them? (Hat tip to Carolee Sherwood for jogging my memory.)

See a larger, Quicktime version at Billy Collins Action Poetry.

Hunger by Billy Collins

Poem by Billy Collins

Animation by SamuelChristopher/FAD, commissioned by the Sundance Channel’s Action Poetry Series

Some Days by Billy Collins

Poem and reading by Billy Collins — text here

Animation by Julian Grey of Head Gear Animation, produced by JWT-NY

I have to say these Billy Collins videos from JWT-NY (there are nine total; I’ll post them all eventually) are really an improvement over the straight texts. This is just a matter of personal taste, of course, but Collins’ poems tend to bore me after the first reading. The video adaptations, by contrast, invite repeated viewings. I’m sure there’s a lesson there somewhere…