~ Annikki Poetry Festival ~

Swoon’s View: Videopoetry Workshop at the Annikki Poetry Festival

Last week I had the opportunity to visit Tampere, Finland. The Annikki Poetry Festival had invited me to give a workshop on videopoetry (as well as do a short live reading). The festival asked J.P. Sipilä to select a collection of videopoetry to showcase, and he suggested a workshop by Swoon.

Invitations like these are hard to decline and I want to say thanks to J.P. and to Simo Ollila for getting me there.

photo by Sini Marikki

The objective beforehand was to create a few brand-new videopoems in one day. First I showed some examples of videopoetry and talked about the genre a bit—not too long, though. Doing it is the best way to learn in my opinion.

Experimenting is fun; I showed eight small, one-minute films (animation, film, archive, abstract…) in a loop, asking every participant to write one line (sentence, word, etc.) inspired by each minute of film. So everyone had an eight-line ‘poem’. I made them all pick out one of the minute-long films and let them read their lines aloud during that film. The others could observe, look and listen. It’s a fun exercise to create something ‘right there, right now’. Words suddenly fit a certain shot (though not written for that image). The participants get to experience the importance of timing, the power of coincidence, and, hopefully, the fun of playing with words and images.

After that, four groups were formed to work on projects of their own, making sure each group had someone familiar with film and/or video and someone willing to write. I kicked them out of the classroom with two tasks: go out, film, write, have fun… and come back with two minutes of film and a short poem/text to go with that.

photo by Sini Marikki

Once they were back they started to combine and collect all the material. Choices were made about which visuals to use, while others started to write (inspired by those choices and the things they saw outside). Music and readings were recorded. Each project was scripted out for me to edit.

The room was buzzing. It’s a joy to experience that.

Time’s up!

At night in my hotel room, I edited three of the four videos, following the instructions and scripts the groups had provided me with. The last one was edited by the group at their school/home.

I must say I am very pleased with how it all worked out. Enjoy!

Read a longer account of the whole festival at my blog

Videopoetry and poetry-film events for June

June 5 in Tampere, Finland

Video Poetry Workshop by Swoon (fully booked)

During the workshop day attendees will compose one finished video poem, which will be presented the next day during the video poetry showcase at the Annikki Poetry Festival.

June 6 in Tampere, Finland

Video Poetry Showcase @ Annikki Poetry Festival

Finnish videopoet J.P. Sipilä has curated a videopoetry showcase for the festival. He has selected ten interesting videopoems from artists around the world.
The video poems will be shown nonstop in the underground gallery from 11 am to 8 pm.

June 6 in Boston

Martha McCollough videopoem screening at Away Mission Opening Reception, Atlantic Works Gallery

Martha McCollough ventures into new media (macro lens photography,) new subject (text as image,) and new scale. She will also be showing several video poems. McCollough is a videographer and writer who lives in Chelsea, Massachusetts. Her videopoems have been exhibited internationally, and have appeared in Triquarterly, Rattapallax, and El Aleph

June 8 in Rotterdam

Poetry on / as Film with IFFR @ 46th Poetry International Festival Rotterdam

On Monday, 8 June, Poetry International and the International Film Festival Rotterdam jointly present, for the first time, an evening film program at Cinerama. Poetry on / as Film includes the premieres of two exceptional poet-documentaries: John Albert Jansen brings the life of German-Romanian Nobel Prize winner Herta Müller to the screen, and Wim Brands and Peter Gielissen compose a poignant portrait of the Dutch poet Roni Wieg. Additionally, under the name Poetry Shorts, a selection of short films and animated poems will be screened, including work from the festival poets Tonnus Oosterhoff, Pierre Alferi and Yanko González.

I see that the festival also has a brief video trailer.

June 10, 17, 24 & July 1 in Buenos Aires

Seminario de Videopoesía. Un lenguaje entre la palabra, el sonido y la imagen en movimiento.
Four-week course taught by Javier Robledo. Registration closes June 8.

June 13 in London

Mahu in Video at the Hardy Tree Gallery.

The emerging medium of poetry film or cinepoetry, crossing poetic principles with video art has often been overtaken by limited, dualistic collaborations. This evening aims to screen the more complex understandings of this new potentiality, another weapon in the pocket of the contemporary poet – the moving image. Co-curated by Dave Spittle & Gareth Evans
– Films from Joshua Alexander, David Kelly-Mancaux, Simon Barraclough, Caroline Alice Lopez, Robert Herbert McClean & more

June 18-19 in Montpellier, France

PoeTransFi (Poetry/Translation/Film – Poésie/Traduction/Film) Conference

The aim of this conference, which could also be entitled “The film as poem, the poem as film: A spectrum of translations”, is to revisit the inter-relations between poetry and film, envisaged under the angle of translation, in a broad sense of the term. We would like to pay special attention to questions of rhythm and montage, starting from the work of film directors and film editors who wrote about the topic in recent years, particularly Andrei Tarkovsky and Walter Murch.

June 21 in London

PoetryFilm Solstice at The Groucho Club.
Submissions may still be welcome for this event. Here are the guidelines.

Videopoetry showcase and workshop at Annikki Poetry Festival, June 5 & 6

Annikki Poetry Festival flyerA late addition to the June calendar of videopoetry and poetry-film events. This is the press release by Simo Ollila, the festival producer:

Video Poetry Showcase @ Annikki Poetry Festival on June 6th 2015 in Tampere, Finland

The festival program of 12th annual Annikki Poetry Festival on June 6th 2015 in Tampere, Finland features a special program dedicated to video poetry. The Video Poetry Showcase’s curator, J.P. Sipilä, is responsible for picking the videos shown, which will include classic works of video poetry from the 1970s to today. The video poems will be shown non-stop in the underground gallery throughout the festival.


The artists featured in the Video Poetry Showcase are Artürs Punte (Lithuania), Kristian Pedersen (Norway), Alice Lyons (USA/Ireland), Vessela Dantcheva (Bulgaria), Mariano Rentería Garnica & Raúl Calderón Gordillo (Mexico), Machine Libertine (Russia), Tom Konyves (Canada), Swoon (Netherlands), J.P. Sipilä (Finland) and Jana Irmert (Germany). Read more of the artists: www.annikinkatu.net/runofestivaali/video-poetry-showcase.htm


The Video Poetry Showcase’s curator J.P. Sipilä: “For me video poetry is a genre of poetry where the complete work creates a new overall poetic experience by applying and mixing the elements of film, sound and text. All these ten videopoems present an interesting mixture of the elements,” Sipilä says.

“In the last ten years video poetry has really become more and more known genre of poetry. I would say that it is blooming in all the corners of the world. And I am very happy to see that Annikki Poetry Festival asked me to make this selection for this year’s festival. Video poetry is still a small genre in Finland, but this just might be a beginning of something great…”


As part of the festival a free video poetry workshop will be organized on Friday, June 5th. The workshop will be held by Swoon, a.k.a. Marc Neys from Belgium, who is one of the world’s most renowned video poets. During the workshop day attendees will compose one finished video poem, which will be presented the next day during the video poetry showcase at the Annikki Poetry Festival. Read more: www.annikinkatu.net/runofestivaali/video-poetry-workshop.htm


The Annikki Poetry Festival (est. 2003) has grown to be one of Finland’s foremost poetry events. The festival’s focus is still on poetry, although it has expanded to also include prose, music and the visual arts. Annikki Poetry Festival will be held in the courtyard of the wooden Annikki district in Tampere, Finland on June 6, 2015. The festival’s theme this year is Word Roots. This means that the many events of the festival will reflect on the beginnings and roots of poetry and all verbal art, with folklore being an important focal point. The program features Jamaican dub poetry pioneer Mutabaruka. Read more: www.annikinkatu.net/runofestivaali/english.htm

Registrations open for videopoetry workshop with Swoon at Annikki Poetry Festival

From the Anniki Poetry Festival website:

A free video poetry workshop will be organized on Friday, June 5, 2015 from 9.30 AM to 4 PM. The workshop will be held by Swoon, a.k.a. Marc Neys from Belgium, who is one of the world’s most renowned video poets. Attendance is free of charge, but requires a binding advance registration. The workshop is part of the Annikki OFF program and is organized by the Annikki Poetry Festival and the Sampola library.


The workshop will be held in English. Attendees are asked to bring along a laptop and/or digital camera. Smart phone cameras are also allowed. While laptop computers are not obligatory, they will enable participants to engage in writing the texts for the video poems. This is a hands-on workshop that will teach participants through first-hand experiences. During the workshop day attendees will compose one finished video poem, which will be presented the next day during the international video poetry showcase at the Annikki Poetry Festival.


Please direct all queries and sign-ups to simo.ollila(a)gmail.com. The workshop group is limited to the first 16 participants.


Speaking of workshops, the Split This Rock Poetry Festival in Washington, D.C. would be an ideal venue for a videopoetry workshop, I think. Check out their call for proposals (deadline: June 30).