~ Dorianne Laux ~

Poetry + dance

Today’s post at Moving Poems, The Lovers by Dorianne Laux, is equally a testament to the imagination of the director, Bob Lockwood, as to the performers: great care has obviously been expended on both the filming and choreography. Lockwood says that the video is “an amalgam of takes of two rehearsal runs.” Having three female dancers take turns reciting the poem worked brilliantly to universalize the very personal, intimate subject-matter of the poem, I thought. The only way it might’ve been improved would have been to have made them wear masks.

“The Lovers” joins a small number of other very impressive offerings in Moving Poem’s Dance category, which several people have told me includes some of their favorite videos on the site. Perhaps the best-known of these poetry-dance videos are the ones for Anne Carson’s series of lectures in the form of sonnets, filmed by Sadie Wilcox, but the approaches to filming, choreography, and integration of text are diverse and also very multicultural, including Iranian, Burmese, Indian and Swedish poets. Together, these videos should serve to remind us that poetry has been a part of multi-media productions for millennia, as dance, drama, and/or musical performance. From this perspective, the merging of poetry with film or video is simply the latest manifestation of a very ancient impulse.