~ Comma Film ~

On Miles Platting Station by Simon Armitage

Kate Jessop originally made this for Comma Film (a project of UK publisher Comma Press) in 2007. It’s the most recent video feature at American literary magazine Tin House.

Jessop’s On Miles Platting Station is an adaptation of Simon Armitage’s likewise titled poem. A muted collage, it follows an imagined trip on a rickety train from the Pennines into the dangerous crowds of central Manchester.

“I grew up in the same Pennine village as Simon Armitage,” Jessop said, “and would often take this train into Manchester. When I realized he had written a poem based on this journey, I knew I had to adapt it to screen—it being particularly personal as it signified my journey out of childhood into adulthood and my own life in Manchester.”

Do click through and read the rest. As with everything in Tin House Reels, the write-up is thorough and engaging. It’s great to see a major literary magazine prioritizing “videos by artists who are forming interesting new relationships between images and words,” and unlike certain other august literary organs, they’re not demanding web exclusivity and preventing other people from sharing and embedding their videos. Yay!

Ice Hotel by Gaia Holmes

James Starkie directs. “Created as part of a collaboration between Bokeh Yeah! and Comma Press, based on a poem by Gaia Holmes.”

Sometimes by Tony Walsh/Longfella


David Wharton directed this film for a poem by UK performance poet Tony Walsh, A.K.A. Longfella. Videopoetry critic Erica Goss writes,

Actor James Foster delivers an emotional punch you won’t forget: This is one of the few video poems I’ve seen that features the talents of a professional actor, and the results are striking. Foster tells the story of the devastation of divorce with his facial expressions and body language, increasing the tension with repetitions of the word, “Sometimes:” “When I’m eating it cold from a tin in the kitchen / and sometimes, when I’ve stood in a line to collect my prescription.” Watching him break apart is at once humbling and terrifying.

Monster by Chris Woods

Bob Moyler directs.

100% recycled cardboard sewn together. Monster is a short film commissioned by Comma Film as part of the Version Film Festival 2009. Based on a poem by Chris Woods.

Woods is the author of the Comma Press collection Dangerous Driving.

Jupiter by Diana Syder

Sally Fryer animates a poem by Diana Syder for the Version Film Festival in Manchester. The poem is from the recent Comma Press title Planet Box, a collaboration between Syder and artist Laura Daly.

Soxy by Sadie Fisher

A collaboration between Glenn-emlyn Richards and Sadie Fisher for the Comma Press Poetry Film Festival 2010. Fisher describes herself as

a writer of short fictions;

an actress of clear convictions;

an image maker & photoshop breaker;

a producer of films & inconstant lover of sox.

Night Vision by Eleanor Rees

This is a collaboration between the poet, Eleanor Rees, and the filmmaker, Glenn-emlyn Richards. It was featured as part of the Comma Film/ Version Film Festival 2009 and the Sadho Poetry Film Festival 2009-2010 in New Delhi.

This is evidently the opening poem in Rees’ debut collection from Salt Publishing, Andraste’s Hair, which garnered an endorsement from Carol Ann Duffy: “Eleanor Rees’s first full-length collection introduces an ambitious, experimental voice, vibrantly charged with the energy of city life.” From the publisher’s page, here’s a sound bite from the author and her city, Liverpool:


If You Were… by Julian Daniel

Tamzin Forster’s animation for what she calls a love poem by Julian Daniel. This was the winner in the Best Poem Film category at the 2009 Version Film Fest in Manchester, UK.

Archaeology by Gaia Holmes

Another fine Comma Film video of a poem by Gaia Holmes, this time by Lisa Risbec, with narration by Jo Bryan. There’s a kind of Russian doll effect at work here: a film within a film, and a book within that, and animation enclosed by live action, and letters in envelopes. Archeaology indeed.

Claustrophobia by Gaia Holmes


Another Gaia Holmes video poem from Comma Film, this one by Charlotte Caetano, with narration by the poet.

Nothing by John Cooper Clarke

Poem by John Cooper Clarke

Film by C. Flannery with narration by Robert Bulsara

Another brilliantly simple video poem from Comma Film.

Video Kid by Chris Woods


A video poem on the perils of video! The poem and narration are by Chris Woods; the film is by Charlotte Caetano. Yet another fine production from Comma Film. (This appears to be a revised version; the original video is here.)