~ Chaucer Cameron ~

White Clouds by Lo Lang

White Clouds is a musical poetry video that was filmed, directed and edited by the outstanding Taiwanese film-maker and poet, Ye Mimi, who released it to the web just two weeks ago. The story of the film…

This song is an adaptation of the poem “White Clouds” by Taiwanese poet Lo Lang (1927-2015). The recording was made by Lo’s daughter Sirong, a renowned, award-winning singer-songwriter in Taiwan. When Lo Lang wrote the poem in 1950, he was expressing his deep desire for freedom. At that time, many Taiwanese were suffering from extreme violence and political repression at the hands of the ruling Kuomingtang, which took over Taiwan after losing the Chinese Civil War to the Chinese Communists. This recording, made in 2018, marks a watershed moment for Lo Sirong and her now deceased father, as Taiwan flourishes today as a fully democratic society.

Lo Sirong sings White Clouds in the Hakka language. She has a marvellous voice, deeply expressive of her father’s poetry. The music overall is wonderful to hear. The English subtitles bring the welcome experience of the poem in written translation as well.

Ye Mimi’s earlier videopoems include I See Green and Golden Shadows as part of the Wild Whispers global videopoetry project, initiated by Chaucer Cameron in the UK. Dave shared three of Ye Mimi’s videos from earlier years here at Moving Poems, including from her own poems. One of these videos was also published by Cordite Poetry Review from Australia, where she wrote an interesting account of her relation to videopoetry.

Ye Mimi’s bio at Vimeo:

Ye Mimi is a Taiwanese poet and filmmaker. A graduate of the MFA Creative Writing Department at Dong Hwa University and the MFA Film Department at School of the Art Institute of Chicago, she is the author of three volumes of poetry and has internationally exhibited several of her poetry films. Through collaging her words and images, she improvises a new landscape trying to erase the border between poetry and image making. Book-length translations of her work are available in Dutch and English.

Poetry Film Live relaunches

s reenshot of Poetry Film Live home page

Poetry film Live relaunched last Wednesday with new content and a slightly new focus. Published and edited by the poetry film-making duo Helen Dewbery and Chaucer Cameron, it has a new tagline, “A New Way with Poetry,” and is described as “a UK based webzine which publishes poetry film, performances, readings, essays and reviews. It is also the platform for Elephant’s Footprint online poetry film training.” A welcome message currently at the top of the home page goes into more detail:

Poetry Film Live has made some changes!

Following a brief furlough from the end of last year, Poetry Film Live has come back with a renewed focus on the work of poets and the type of poetry film that is a literary form. A form of poetry that is visual, not solely textual, that moves rather than stays put on a page.

Poetry Film Live has responded to the changes that have developed during the Covid19 pandemic. The future of poetry gatherings, reading series and open mics is uncertain both in the short and longer term, therefore, Poetry Film Live is including performances and readings of poetry.

These are new and exciting times and we hope you will consider participating and supporting Poetry Film Live by sending us your submissions, we look forward to seeing your work.

Start by watching the two videos below: ‘How to Make Voice Recordings from Home Better’ and ‘Top Tip for filming yourself reading a poem from a smartphone’.

We have also announced the launch of online poetry film training for poets – see the link for more details.

Learn Poetry Film Making

The course is only £75 and I’m not aware of anyone else offering this right now, so I’m glad they’re featuring it. It’s a real service to the community.

The submission guidelines are mostly sensible, though it’s too bad the maximum duration is so short (six minutes). My only other criticism of the site is the large sticky header, which reduces screen real estate significantly. Viewers not in the habit of expanding videos to full screen, or clicking F11 on a PC to push the website to full screen, are sure to be frustrated.

But these are minor quibbles. It’s great to be able welcome Poetry Film Live back to active duty. (We at Moving Poems know all about unannounced brief furloughs!) Go visit.

Wild Whispers Poetry Film Project debuts on the web

Multi-author collaborations are relatively rare in modern poetry culture — one of the significant ways in which videopoetry and filmpoetry deviate from established norms. With poetry films, collaboration is if anything more common than one-person productions. And this collaborative angle is nowhere more evident than in the new website for the Wild Whispers Poetry Film Project (whose call-out we shared here two years ago). The result feels like the audiovisual equivalent of renga-meets-exquisite corpse.

Wild Whispers is an international film poetry project that started with one poem and led to 15 versions in 12 languages and 12 poetry films.

The films, in different languages, were all ‘whispered’ from the previous one. The project travelled from England to India, Australia, Taiwan, France, South Africa, the Netherlands, Sweden, Wales and the USA, creating poetry films in English, Malayalam, Chinese, French, Afrikaans, Dutch, American Sign Language, Navajo, Spanish, and Welsh.

Started by the UK poet Chaucer Cameron of Elephant’s Footprint Film Poetry and Poetry Film Live, the project drew inspiration from recent political events and more, as Cameron explains:

[…] My own desire to connect was both personal and political and certainly focused on the bigger picture. I am most passionate about film poetry, and consider it to be the perfect vehicle for exciting collaborations and for fostering strong, positive connections between countries and across the world.

One of the initial inspirations behind the Wild Whispers project was a single image of a Buryat Shaman performing a libation – a ritual pouring of liquid, milk or grains, as an offering to the gods or spirits in memory of the dead. When I discovered this image I was also in the process of writing a vision statement for Elephant’s Footprint and came across an article by visual artist Mary Russell and author Gerard Wozek, the collaborative duo of “Mercury in Motion”. I found we shared a belief that visual and literary art carry spiritual, political, and sociological messages and that visual poetry is a physical manifestation of what it means to be a human being engaged in seeking community, and that the medium of film poetry is intrinsically alchemic—magic.

The call-out to poets, translators and poetry filmmakers to be involved in Wild Whispers has resulted in just that: magic.

Read the rest, then watch the films. (Disclaimer: one of them is mine.)

Film Poetry Weekend Course in Poole, UK, January 13-14

This sounds like a terrific deal: a two-day workshop with Helen Dewbery and Chaucer Cameron (Elephant’s Footprint, Poetry Film Live) for less than £20. Here’s the description on Eventbright:

As part of Light Up Poole’s film poetry competition, Poole Museum are hosting this fantastic film poem weekend course. Learn the ins and outs of film poetry on this two-day course, led by Helen Dewberry and Chaucer Cameron.

Day 1 (10am-4pm)

Day one will be an introduction to film poetry, from theory to practise. By the end of the day, you will have created your very own film poem, and have an understanding of its significance, as well as the various genres.

  • Understanding film poetry.
  • Genre.
  • The creative process – text, filming, sound and editing.
  • Creating your first film poem using archive footage.

Day 2 (12pm-4pm)

Participants will be supported to plan and make their own personal film poem. You are welcome to bring your own equipment for this process.

We will give a demonstration using iMovie. For Windows users, please download Movie Maker before the session. You are welcome to use any other software you are familiar with.

Limited editing equipment is available for loan during the sessions.

For more information and concessions, email matt@artfulscribe.co.uk.


If you’re a poet curious about poetry film, and especially if you’d like to enter the Lighthouse Poole competition judged by Lucy English and Sarah Tremlett, here’s your chance. Click through to register.

Chaucer Cameron and Helen Dewbery

Chaucer Cameron and Helen Dewbery

Speaking of Chaucer and Helen, be sure to visit Poetry Film Live. They’ve got the Christmas decorations up and are posting new poetry films and features all month long.

Poetry Film Live unveils first issue, opens submissions

Poetry Film Live headerPlease join me in welcoming and spreading the word about a new online magazine, Poetry Film Live. Unveiled on Friday, its first monthly issue “features poetry films from international poets and filmmakers,” names that should be familiar to most Moving Poems readers: Robert Peake, Marc Neys, Marie Craven, and Judith Dekker. There’s also an interview with Martin Rieser, which adds historical perspective and contributes some insights about poetry film I haven’t seen elsewhere.

The editors are the energetic filmpoem-making team of Chaucer Cameron and Helen Dewbery, with assistant editor Lucia Sellars, a poet and environmental scientist who brings Spanish-language fluency to the table. Poetry Film Live is affiliated with The Interpreter’s House, a 32-year-old UK print literary journal. Here’s how they describe their mission:

Poetry Film Live is a collaboration with The Interpreter’s House poetry journal to show some of the best and most inspiring film and video poetry from the UK and around the world, by both new and established poets and poetry filmmakers.

Poetry film harmonises words, images and sound to create a new poetry experience … it’s more than spoken words, visual images and sound being in the same room together, it’s their ability to talk to one another that creates the magic in poetry film.

The editorial bias is toward poetry films with an emphasis on a convincing poetic experience rather than simply technical excellence. We encourage poet-made films or where the filmmaker has worked closely with the poet. We also encourage work from poets who are new to poetry film.

Submissions are currently open through June 30th. After that, the plan is to have three submissions periods per year, though new issues will appear monthly.

There’s been a real need for this kind of publication. Until now, videopoets and poetryfilm makers who have wanted to submit their work to online publications have mostly had to look for regular literary magazines that make room for videos, and with a few notable exceptions such as Atticus Review and TriQuarterly, that tends to be an afterthought. And all too often literary magazine editors want exclusive publication rights, as if they still don’t fully understand how the internet or the filmmaking world work. By contrast, the Poetry Film Live editors state that “Previously screened and shown work is fine,” and require “A link to your film/video hosted on Vimeo or YouTube” as part of the submission.

They do stipulate that “The author asserts, under his/her own liability, the complete right of use on used materials (images, words, sounds, music) that compose the artwork; the author undertakes complete liability for any breach of copyright laws,” which will exclude some remixes, but should protect them from the situation I sometimes face on Moving Poems of videos disappearing from the site due to DMCA takedown requests to (usually) YouTube from original copyright holders of remixed materials. (Though fair use/fair dealing provisions in U.S. and U.K. copyright law may protect such remixes, YouTube typically errs on the side of caution and takes a “guilty till proven innocent” approach.)

The appearance of Poetry Film Live was a complete surprise, by coincidence on my birthday — which is one day after Moving Poems’ own birthday (she’s eight). So as you can imagine I was really happy to see such a promising new publication joining our not very crowded field, based in a country where — unlike the U.S. — poetry-film actually enjoys some recognition from the poetry establishment as well as in the very active spoken-word scene. Here’s hoping they become a vital and influential player in the poetry-film world.

Poetry film workshop in Bristol, 14-15 October

Bath Spa University is sponsoring a Liberated Words Two-Day Poetry Film Festival, led by the accomplished filmpoem makers Chaucer Cameron and Helen Dewbery. Here’s the Facebook event description:

The workshop is generously sponsored by Bath Spa University so the cost is just £10

Booking: to reserve a place contact Chaucer by email: chaucer.cameron@gmail.com

The workshop covers:

  • understanding what poetry film is or can be
  • viewing poetry films from around the world
  • knowing where to find still and moving images
  • creating images and film yourself
  • where to find music and sound or get it made
  • putting it all together
  • where to send/show finished work

We will finish day one of the workshop making a group poetry film together. On day two, with support and collaboration, you will have the opportunity to make a poetry film of your own. We will include using archive material, still images and moving film, and using words on the screen and voiceovers. You will be encouraged to bring your own ideas and skills, and push into new realms of what poetry and poetry film can be.

It is useful, but not essential, for you to bring a laptop, and camera or mobile phone capable of taking video. If you do not have a laptop you will not be able to make your own poetry film on the day – but there is still plenty you can learn and experience – so don’t let that put you off.

An practical online handbook is available for all participants.
Please bring a packed lunch. Coffee, tea and snacks are available in the YHA café.

The workshop will be held October 14 – October 15 in the conference room, YHA Bristol, The Grain House, 14 Narrow Quay, Bristol BS1 4QA. See Facebook for more information.

April poetry film events in the UK, Germany, Quebec and Greece

Back on March 7, I posted a list of poetry-film screenings and festivals for the spring in which I lamented the apparent lack of events in April. Since then, I’ve learned about quite a few, thanks to web and Facebook postings from Zata Banks (nee Kitowski), Thomas Zandegiacomo Del Bel, and Helen Dewbery.

11 April in Swindon, UK

Poetry Film Workshop with Chaucer Cameron and Helen Dewbery. According to the Facebook event page, there were only eight places available as of March 22, so don’t delay if you’re interested in signing up.

The objective is for participants to create a poetry film.
Part One: Short introduction on the history of film poetry with examples.
Part Two: Exercises using sound, words and images.
Part Three: Creating a film poem using newly created poetry and images.
Equipment: participants bring their own laptop, camera/phone if they have them.
With permission, and if suitable, the films will be shown at this year’s Poetry Swindon Festival in the Central Library on National Poetry Day (1st October 2015)

17 April in Hawick, Scotland

TRANSMUTATIONS programme at Alchemy Film and Moving Image Festival.

Alchemy Film and Moving Image Festival and Zata Kitowski from PoetryFilm have co-curated this special screening, mixing films from our open submissions with classics of the genre. It features a diverse selection of film artworks, chosen for their alignment with poetry, with poetic structures, with poetic experiences, and with the visual, verbal and aural languages of poetry in various forms. The 45 minute screening will be followed by a 15 minute Q&A with some of the filmmakers, including Richard Bailey (USA) and Sean Martin (UK).

20-24 April in Münster

Poetry Film – Seminar mit Daniel Huhn & Julian Isfort. It’s great to see these workshops cropping up. This one, sponsored by Filmwerkstatt Münster, sounds very intensive, a five-day-long seminar with basic filmmaking knowledge recommended for participants.

22 April in Münster

Best of ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival 2014: HEIMATKLÄNGE. The first of three events presented by Filmwerkstatt Münster in the Palace Theatre, each consisting of two, 45-minute screenings on a given theme, compiled and moderated by the ZEBRA program director Thomas Zandegiacomo Del Bel. (The others are on 29 April—see below—and May 6.) The description for the first one reads:

Der deutschsprachige Raum ist bekannt für seine mannigfaltige Dichtkunst. Konkrete, Digitale und Lautpoesie, Naturlyrik oder Lieder beweisen: Die Varianten sind schier unbegrenzt.

23 April – 5 July in Montreal

Carrefour Vidéo-poétique. A very cool-sounding video installation featuring videopoems from Québec and the ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival.

The Goethe-Institut and Vidéographe are pleased to collaborate on Carrefour vidéo-poétique, a video installation presented in the windows of the Goethe-Institut from April 23 to July 5, every evening from sunset to midnight.

This presentation of video-poems aims to offer a fresh perspective and a new way of hearing contemporary poetry, in addition to innovating on how it’s disseminated: Video becomes a new means of spreading the word, thereby making poetry accessible to the general public.

24-26 April in Athens

PoetryFilm programme on body and gender identity at sound acts.

sound acts will be the first such event in Greece, introducing the athenian audience to work not frequently seen and hopefully opening a dialogue about gender and identity politics within sound production.

25-26 in Wenlock, UK
PoetryFilm at the Wenlock Poetry Festival

For the Wenlock Poetry Festival, PoetryFilm is contributing a curated programme of ten short poetry films, which will be played on a loop at The Edge cinema venue. A real festival first!

29 April in Münster

Best of ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival 2014: TANZREIME.

Tanz und Musik schwingen im Dreiklang mit der Lyrik. Moderne Rhythmen interpretieren bekannte Gedichte, ausdrucksstarke Tänze und Performances vermitteln uns die geballte Kraft der Sprache.