~ Poet: Patricia Killelea ~

Videopoem Mixtape Vol. 1 by Patricia Killelea

I was struck by how well these six author-made videopoems work together as a collection, and thought they’d also serve as a good introduction to the videopoetry practice of the latest addition to our editorial team, Patricia Killelea, whose work I’ve featured here in the past, but none since 2018. The embedded YouTube player should work, but let me append links to the six films, in order, with the YouTube descriptions for each, excluding the repetitive but vital detail that each features Patricia’s own words, voice, and video:

The Middle of Nowhere
“The Middle of Nowhere” received an Honorable Mention @ The Midwest Video Poetry Fest, Madison, WI 2023
This poetryfilm is a meditation on what it means to live in the rural Midwest— the phrase, “middle of nowhere,” itself is a misnomer.

In the Summer of 2020, We Picked Berries
“In the Summer of 2020, We Picked Berries” was Award-Nominated and an Official Selection for the REELpoetry International Poetry Film Festival – Houston, TX 2024
Poetryfilm reflecting on the politicization of the COVID-19 pandemic and historic protests in U.S. urban centers in 2020. There was a stark contrast between life in the cities and life in rural America during this time. But that was only on the surface.

A Rusted Bird Cage in an Otherwise Empty Field
“A Rusted Birdcage in an Otherwise Empty Field” was an Online Feature @ FENCE, 2021
A poetryfilm addressing the shadow self.

Greetings from Lake Superior
“Postcard: Greetings from Lake Superior” was an Official Selection @ Det Poetiske Fonoteque: Nature & Culture Poetry Film Festival, Copenhagen 2022
A poetryfilm exploring ecological crisis in the Great Lakes region: mercury poisoning, PFAS (forever chemicals), and toxic stamp sands from mining waste.
Poem originally published in Sky Island Journal.

A New History/Una Nueva Historia
“A New History/Una Nueva Historia” was a Finalist and Official Selection for Frame to Frames II @ FOTOGENIA Film Poetry & Divergent Narratives Festival, Mexico City 2023
Spanish translation by Camilo Bosso. With special thanks to poet Lisandra Perez, MFA, for PK’s original Spanish translation assistance.
An ekphrastic poetryfilm inspired by Ana Segovia’s painting Huapengo Torero, “A New History” celebrating the act of crossing over into a new way of life— one that challenges stereotypical conceptions of gender, animal-human relationships, and desire.
Published in Poem Film Imprints Vol. 1, Frame to Frames : Your Eyes Follow II/Cuadro a Cuadros : Tus Ojos Siguen II (ekphrastic poetry + films/cine + poesía ecfrástica), Anthology, Bilingual Edition, Poem in Print & QR Code linking to Videopoem, Liberated Words, Bath, UK, 2024 available here.

How it Starts
“How it Starts” was Shortlisted and an Official Selection at the Ó Bhéal Poetry Film Competition, Cork, Ireland 2017 Also screened @ POETRY FILM LIVE ​
A poetryfilm addressing violence, internet culture, and history.
Poem appeared in Counterglow (Urban Farmhouse Press, 2018)

I asked Patricia why “mixtape” (rather than, say, “chapbook” or “anthology”), and what led her to this grouping, and her response is worth quoting in full:

It felt like my poetryfilms didn’t have a home. They were scattered across the internet— some streaming on lit journal or videopoem sites, while others were screened at festivals but otherwise not made public. I’m a private person, but what are these poetryfilms for if they’re not out there in the world moving around? The concept of the mixtape came to mind, a curated playlist that would be free and accessible to anyone online. When I pick up a poetry collection, I can read from the opening page all the way to end, or I can skip around from poem to poem. And when I listen to an album, I can move between tracks or hear it all the way through in a continuous experience. Why couldn’t I do the same with my videopoems?

As someone born in the early 80’s, I remember the joy and excitement of the mixtape. I made a tape for a high school crush, traded carefully pirated masterpieces with other goth-industrial, punk and metalhead friends. It took time and care and I had to think about the impact of the mixtape taken as a whole. What messages would it send? How would it make the listener feel? Would I finally be understood? With this Videopoem Mixtape Vol. 1, I am bringing together selections from my recent poetryfilm work as a kind of retrospective exercise and an offering to the videopoem community to encourage more open sharing and collaboration. Finally, this mixtape was an experiment for myself so I could see how these pieces fit together across time, talking to and echoing one another since I tend to carry out my personal obsessions in poetics, both on and off the page. These obsessions are namely the natural world and environmental justice issues, history, and a general fascination with language itself as a medium through which and by which we live and exist.

Because my poetryfilms are largely voice-driven, I chose to refer to this curation as a Videopoem Mixtape instead of a Videopoem Chapbook. More people outside of the literary world know what a mixtape is compared to a chapbook, and I wanted the collection to be immediately discernible to folks outside of the poetryfilm practice.

My hope is that more and more poetryfilm artists will release their own Videopoem Mixtapes online. Let’s trade these Videopoem Mixtapes back and forth with one another like we used to trade cassette mixtapes back in the day. Give your scattered videopoems a home so we can all stop by for a visit.

Patricia Killelea is a writer and poetry filmmaker living in the western Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Her poetry films have been officially selected and screened at REELpoetry International Film Festival, Det Poetiske Fonoteque: Nature & Culture Poetry Film Festival, the Ó’Béal International Poetry-Film Competition, and Frame to Frames II: Your Eyes Follow for the FOTOGENIA Film Poetry & Divergent Narratives Festival. Her other poetry films have received Honorable Mention at the Midwest Video Poetry Fest and longlisted for the Rabbit Heart Poetry Film Festival. Patricia’s poetry films and essays on videopoetry craft have been featured at FENCE, Poetry Film Live, and Atticus Review. Her most recent poetry collection, Counterglow, was published by Urban Farmhouse Press (2019), and her poems have appeared in literary journals cream city review, Seneca Review, Quarterly West, The Common, Trampoline, Barzakh, Waxwing and elsewhere. She was Poetry Editor at Passages North from 2015-2022 and has been a Poetry Editor at FENCE since 2022. She is an Associate Professor of English at Northern Michigan University.

The Hungriest Animal Alive by Patricia Killelea


A new videopoem from Patricia Killelea, who says about her creative process:

First comes the language. That is the foundation. Then the video poem builds upon that language, goes to war with that language, prompts that language to shed its skin and become something new, albeit still grounded in voice, breath, and the body.

Read the rest.

How It Starts by Patricia Killelea

You should know by now there’s no such thing
as clickbait: only the fear of not knowing
where the blood is coming from next & the quiet
just before the stars
are torn out from under you.

This author-made videopoem by Patricia Killelea is featured in the latest issue of Poetry Film Live, including the text, a few stills, a bio, and some very interesting process notes, which conclude:

In my view, videopoems are multi-sensorial, but instead of merely “fleshing out” the words of the poem itself, the kinesthetic experience of a videopoem can create a space of encounter with language that more closely resembles the actual groping towards meaning and understanding that goes on in our minds on a day to day basis. This groping is always both within and beyond language, and these new poetic forms make that process more transparent even as they seek to complicate it.

Go read the rest.

Night on Klamath River by Patricia Killelea

A videopoem by poet, teacher and musician Patricia Killelea using a text from her collection Counterglow. In an interview with Passages North, where she’s now the poetry editor, Killelea talked about the impetus behind her poetry videos:

I carry a video camera with me wherever I go—I think of it as my visual notebook. For a long time I theorized my poetry mostly in terms of sound and silence, but the more I started thinking about the relationship between my body and language, the more I wanted to create a multi-sensorial experience. We don’t experience language merely through sound or even visually on the page, but everywhere we go. I walk through the woods and I’m reminded of a story told to me by Oneida beadwork artist Karen Ann Hoffman, or I’m watching my bandmate Aubrey Hess cradle a jug of wine and it reminds me of thirst and insatiable longing. I think in terms of interwoven networks between words and images, sounds and movement and so my video poems are an attempt-in-progress to capture both my associative writing process as well as to situate my poetry in the actual, physical world of things.

The Almost Prayer by Patricia Killelea

An author-made videopoem by Patricia Killelea, reading a poem from her forthcoming collection Counterglow (Mango Publications, 2016). According to the Video Poetry page on her website,

The poems from my forthcoming second poetry collection, Counterglow, are small and serious, and their sparseness prompts questions of space and the need to expand the visual-aural arc of my poetry’s scope. For these reasons, I’ve begun exploring video poetry. I’m excited about these transformations in poetics and the move toward digital experimentation. I began my video-poetry-sound experiments while I was an artist-in-residence at the Santa Fe Art Institute during August 2013.

It is possible that video poems are a way of grounding written speech back in the body, evoking a multi-sensorial experience of language and space. It is also possible that movements in digital poetics against narrative merely reiterate the varied ways in which all experience, language, and life is inherently storied– that is, fragmented structures tell a story of fragmentation, etc. It is likewise possible that the acoustic and visual “compete” with each other as Charles Bernstein suggests (2003) and that we are in the age of poetry “music videos,” a kind of anti-MTV or a poet’s last stand against bullshit assertions that poetry doesn’t matter. It definitely matters, and video poetry makes its materiality all the more substantive.

Visit YouTube to watch more of Killelea’s videopoetry.