~ Haus für Poesie ~

25th Poesiefestival Berlin

Tickets now available for the 25th Poesiefestival festival in Berlin, Germany, from 4–21 July 2024. The programme is now online at their website

The film elements in 2024 includes a screening of The Book of Conrad followed by a Q&A with CAConrad, and a Best Of ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival. Over the whole event there are a total of three exhibitions, 12 events and more than 60 participating Berlin poets, musicians and artists.

New content at Poetry Film Live and other websites

The editors of Poetry Film Live have just released their second issue, which in practice means that four new videos and an interview have been linked from their front page, below an introduction which I’ll paste in here as an added inducement to go visit:

This issue features poetry films from the UK.

The interview this month is with Adam Steiner. We spoke to Adam on the day Disappear Here was being launched. We particularly wanted to find out about the Disappear Here Project, which involved 9 poets, 9 filmmakers and 27 poetry films. We also talked to Adam about his not-for-profit publishing company, his time working for the NHS and his new novel.

Antony Owen is the poet and performer of The Dreamer of Samuel Vale House. Samuel Vale House is next to the ring road in Coventry. It was directed by Adam Steiner and was the poetry film that led to the Disappear Here Project.

Act was written by Maggie Sawkins and was recorded for ‘Zones of Avoidance’, the live literature production which went on to win the 2013 Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry. Act was filmed by Abigail Norris.

Rachel McGladdery’s poem My Dead Dad is a powerful and moving poem, filmed by Bryan Dickenson. The film gives space for the viewer to take in the words without distraction; Bryan’s aim was for the viewer to ‘defocus’ on the screen.

Martin Evans poetry film Numbers is intriguing – in the Welsh mountains is a numbers station broadcasting in Welsh. Martin explains how numbers stations were used in the Cold War to broadcast on short wave frequencies to spies out in the field. I’ll leave you to enjoy the film and ask the obvious questions ….

Next month there will be international poetry films by Cheryl Gross, Eduardo Yagüe and Lucy English, José Luis Ugarte and Patricia Killelea, plus an interview with Mab Jones who is one of the 9 poets who took part in Disappear Here.

I found the interview with Adam Steiner especially inspirational. Here’s a snippet:

PFL It was said that Disappear Here will ‘make people see the city of Coventry in a different light; whether they are new or have lived here for years. And will inspire others to write/read/experience poetry in its many forms; live and on the page, as well as sparking interest in the new and developing genre of poetry films’. To what extent have these aims been achieved so far?

AS Yes I do think we have done that, by working with great collaborators and the current audiences in Coventry and poets I know here in Coventry. And the people who run the monthly open mike nights are starting to get interesting guests from the midlands and beyond. It is a great way of having our poets working as ambassadors for the city and then poets from other places bringing their stuff here. It’s created whole new collaborations with people publishing other people. I don’t think it will bring loads of people putting pen to paper but I think it will shatter and reinvigorate some conceptions of poetry and what poetry can, or could be, in the future, especially with the films, which are a very accessible and immediate format. If you watch a poetry film, or see a great performance and it stays with you, if a line or two of poetry sticks, it has done its job – if your lines carry on through a person that’s all you can ask for as a poet.

I’ve been giving a lot of attention to Poetry Film Live because they’re new and deserve support, but be sure to keep an eye on other film/videopoetry-related sites, too, or you might miss developments such as:

  • The Haus für Poesie (formerly Literaturwerkstatt Berlin) website has added a new section of pages to its ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival section embedding all the winning films (or trailers) available on Vimeo or YouTube for the complete run of festivals they coordinated, 2002-2014. Start here.
  • So far the new website at zebrapoetryfilm.org has not followed suit. BUT the ZEBRA Poetry Film Club Vimeo channel continues to locate and add films from among all the films ever screened at ZEBRA, a huge undertaking that’s been going on for more than two years now (and which has made my own job as Moving Poems curator much easier).
  • And the ZEBRA Poetry Film Club group on Facebook remains the number one source for international news about the genre. (They’re also on Twitter for the Facebook-averse.)
  • The Vienna-based Art Visuals & Poetry website also regularly adds new content, especially in its Outstanding poetry films section, though it can be a little difficult to navigate. The easiest approach is to subscribe to their partial-content RSS feed for notification of new content, which seems to appear about two or three times a week.
  • Poetryfilmkanal (Poetryfilm Channel), the other major German and English-language website for the genre, is worth visiting at least once a month for their Film of the Month feature. (For those with no German, like me, Google Translate is more than adequate these days for conveying the gist of German prose.) They’re currently soliciting essays on Typography and Text as Image for the third issue of their magazine.
  • The website for the forthcoming VERSOGRAMAS documentary about videopoetry, directed by Belén Montero and Juan Lesta, recently added a page with links to all the videopoets who will be interviewed in the film. (At least, I think it was recent. Since it’s a static page, it didn’t show up in the feed.)

Here’s the latest VERSOGRAMAS teaser, for those who haven’t seen it. For a die-hard videopoetry fan like me, this is more exciting than the latest Star Wars movie trailer:

ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival moves to Münster, issues call for entries

ZEBRA, the world’s premiere poetry film festival, has been held in Berlin every other year since 2002, a project of Literaturwerkstatt Berlin (which is in the process of changing its name to Haus für Poesie). Though spin-off events derived from the main festival regularly occur all over the world in cooperation with local arts organizations, in 2016 the festival has a new home altogether—Filmwerkstatt Münster—and a new website at zebrapoetryfilm.org (with an English-language option).

The international ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival has a new home in Münster. From the 27th to the 30th of October 2016, for the very first time the Filmwerkstatt Münster, in cooperation with Literaturwerkstatt Berlin/Haus für Poesie, will host the ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival Münster|Berlin.

The idea for a festival for short films combining poetry with moving pictures was created in 2002 by the Literaturwerkstatt Berlin/Haus für Poesie. They organized the festival in Berlin until 2014 and have established it as the biggest platform for the genre poetry film. At the initiative of Kunststiftung NRW, the relocation is anticipated to carry the genre beyond the borders of the capital and anchor it in North Rhine-Westphalia.

In Münster, ZEBRA is going to take place every other year – alternating with the Filmfestival Münster and the Lyrikertreffen. With special offers for schools, the kids programme ZEBRINO, film presentations about diverse topics, discussions and poetry readings, the ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival Münster|Berlin invites a wide audience to discover the poetry film for themselves.

The ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival Münster|Berlin will be held from the 27th to the 30th of October 2016 at cinema Schlosstheater in Münster. On the 31st of October 2016, the winning entries and a selection of the best films will be presented in Berlin.

Of most interest to the filmmakers and videopoets reading this, I suppose, is the other article currently on their front page:

Submissions for the ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival Münster|Berlin begin on the 1st of February 2016

From the 1st of February 2016 artists from all over the world can submit their contributions. A total of five prizes, among them two audience awards, are endowed together with 12.000 €. Eligible for submission are poetry films with a maximum length of 15 minutes that were finished after 1st of January 2013. Deadline for entries is the 1st of July 2016.

The international competition is the heart of the programme, which will be comprised of approximately 200 films in total. A programme commission consisting of film, poetry and media experts is going to nominate the films for the festival and the competition. An international jury will choose the winning films, which will also be shown by the Literaturwerkstatt Berlin/Haus für Poesie in Berlin.

The festival is also inviting entries of films based on this year’s festival poem, »Orakel van een gevonden schoen« by Mustafa Stitou. The directors of the three best films will be invited to Münster to meet the poet and have the opportunity to present and discuss their films. You will find the poem with a sound recording and various translations at lyrikline.org.

Visit zebrapoetryfilm.org for contact information. I’m pleased to see that Thomas Zandegiacomo Del Bel will continue as ZEBRA’s artistic director, suggesting that there will be a high degree of continuity despite the switch from sponsorship by an organization focused on poetry to one focused on film. He’ll be joined by managing directors Risna Olthuis and Carsten Happe, who have also run the Münster Film Festival since 2014.