~ Heather Haley ~

New Art Emerging: Notes from a Symposium on Videopoetry

Editors’ note: the symposium titled New Art Emerging: Two or Three Things One Should Know About Videopoetry took place on 5 November 2022 in Surrey, BC, Canada. It was convened by the renowned theorist of videopoetry, Tom Konyves, who also curated a related exhibition program, Poets with a Video Camera: Videopoetry 1980-2022. Valerie LeBlanc and Daniel H. Dugas were guest speakers at the symposium and kindly accepted our invitation to write an account to appear here at Moving Poems Magazine…

To start, instead of cutting the information down to fit, it might be easier to just start a new videopoetry blog. That is not a serious proposal, it is just that every videopoet holds the potential to write a book in a conversation and each videopoem is a complete story in itself. Writing a report from within is new for us and to begin, we admit that our comments must be somewhat biased.

The exhibition Poets with a Video Camera: Videopoetry 1980-2022 at the Surrey Art Gallery formed the base for the Symposium, as well as providing the impetus for Poems by Poetry Filmmakers, readings at Vancouver’s People’s Co-op Bookstore that were organized by Fiona Tinwei Lam, Vancouver’s Poet Laureate, 2022-2024 and the Symposium’s keynote speaker, Sarah Tremlett.

On Friday night, November 4, a major windstorm blew through the Lower Mainland with the City of Surrey being one of the hardest hit in the area. Large trees, weakened by months of drought, had been toppled, and on Saturday morning scores of BC Hydro customers were affected. Surrey was at the epicenter of the storm and the Gallery was without power but not powerless. Thanks to the quick action of Jordan Strom, Surrey Art Gallery’s Curator of Exhibitions and Collections, Rhys Edwards, Assistant Curator, and Zoe Yang, Curatorial Assistant, the symposium was efficiently moved to the Surrey Public Library, a stunning building in the City Centre. The schedule had to be retooled into a shorter program, but the room was packed and ready to see all the facets of this videopoetic diamond.

The symposium audience

To contextualize the place of the smposium it might be useful to have some information about the exhibition. From the gallery’s website:

Poets with a Video Camera presents the largest retrospective of videopoetry in Canada to date. The exhibition features over twenty-five works by some of the world’s leading practitioners. It is organized around five categories of videopoetry: kinetic text, visual text, sound text, performance, cin(e)poetry.

The title is a reference to Dziga Vertov’s 1929 film Man with a Movie Camera that has become iconic in experimental film discussions in advocating for a complete separation between the language of theatre and literature. Similarly, Konyves argues for videopoetry to be thought of as outside of poetry and video art. Instead, Konyves states that it is a form that is in its “early days . . . still in a process of redefining poetry for future generations.” This exhibition shows the humorous next to the serious, the experimental alongside the genre bending, the ironic with the sincere, and the timely together with the timeless expressions of this new form.

Jordan Strom opened the Symposium and introduced Guest Curator, Tom Konyves.

Tom Konyves

Tom stated his intention to provoke dialogue and to challenge perspectives. While developing a course in visual poetry for the University of the Fraser Valley, Abbotsford (2006), he had come to realize that he needed more sources for videopoetry than his own work. After contacting Heather Haley, she sent him 76 examples. From there, he came up with a definition of videopoetry that proposed a triptych of text, image, and sound in a poetic juxtaposition. He was able to further clarify his research findings in Buenos Aires when he met Argentinian artist Fernando García Delgado. Finally, Tom arrived at the idea that the role of the videopoet was that of juggler, visual artist, filmmaker, sound artist, and poet. He concluded that, within that mix, the videopoem as an art object, poetic experience, and metaphor, is created.

Sarah Tremlett

UK-based videopoet Sarah Tremlett delivered the symposium’s keynote speech in which she spoke about her definitive volume The Poetics of Poetry Film, as well as the importance of sound and subjectivity in an artist’s experimental audiovisual journey. Through her own work, as well as her contributions to the examination of poetry film, film poetry, and videopoetry, Sarah occupies a central place in the videopoetry world. While addressing the symposium, she also introduced her current work: research into a complex family history, spanning several centuries.

Heather Haley and Kurt Heintz spoke of their individual activities and collaborations in what is recognized as their history in the world of videopoetry. Their presentation, titled Entangled Threads: How One Canadian and One American Poet Took on Technology and Charted a Genre, proposed an engaging exchange on the shared commonality of early events linking not only poets in different geographic locations, but also text/voice to technologies. Among these commonalities was the early 1990’s Telepoetics project, a series of events using videophones to connect poets. As noted by Heather Haley on her website: “[…] before Skype or Zoom poets were using videophones to connect, to exchange verse, despite a myriad of limitations and challenges. […]”

Kurt Heintz and Heather Haley
Adeena Karasick

Poet, performer, essayist, media artist, professor, thinker Adeena Karasick, and artist-programmer, visual poet and essayist Jim Andrews delivered a high-powered and mesmerizing performance of Checking In, a work about our insatiable appetite for information. Jim’s coding meshed seamlessly with Adeena’s texts and her high-level acrobatics of spoken word and movement. Through the fusing of voice, text, and image, Jim’s video, and Adeena’s recitations/movements, the two delivered a performance that never missed a beat!

Founder and Director of the VideoBardo Festival, Javier Robledo (in absentia), planted himself onto a sofa and placed a bird cage on his head to present a playful performance/poetry mix. Reminiscent of early 20th-century Dada performances, he closed the performance when he blew a whistle that mimicked a caged bird. In his video presentation, and speaking about his work P-O-E-S-I-A, Javier spoke about the importance of the performative gesture and its repercussions in articulating meanings.

Javier Robledo
Matt Mullins

As Matt Mullins was also in absentia from the symposium, Tom provided an introduction to his work in the exhibition, as well as Matt’s own pre-recorded intervention about his creative process and the decisions made in the making of the three videos: Our Bodies (A Sinner’s Prayer), 2012; Semi Automatic Pantoum, a collaboration between Mullins and the Poetic Justice League of Chicago, 2019; and america, (i wanted to make you something beautiful but i failed), 2022.

When we spoke with Annie Frazier Henry a few days following the Symposium, she felt energized by taking part in the event. She is a writer with roots in theatre, music and film. In her presentation, she mentioned the influence that E. Pauline Johnson had on her growth. She generously expressed that the warm and safe space created by the meeting was about all of us. Grounded in her perspective, Annie talked about encouragement and relevancy. The words from her 1995 poem Visions resonate forward to the contemporary platform of videopoetry:

I don’t want to see stars in my eyes
I want to see stars in the sky,
Where they belong

When you enter a room
There’s invisible war paint on your face
And it looks good

Annie Frazier Henry

Fiona Tinwei Lam, the Vancouver Poet Laureate (2022-2024), presented The Plasticity of Poetry, a series of videopoems based on the dilemma of plastic pollution and its dizzying accumulation. Many of Fiona’s works are collaborative endeavours with animators. She also screened the work Neighborhood by Pamela Falkenberg and Jack Cochran which they state “is a look at modern life in the suburbs as the world courts climate disaster.” Neighborhood juxtaposes a poem by Fiona over live-action and animated scenes of suburbia. At the root of all of these works resides a deep desire to make a difference in the world.

Fiona Tinwei Lam

As for us, we presented Rust Never Sleeps: Nuances in Collaborative Creation, a talk on collaborations and the diverse ways that we have collaborated while continuing to each work on our own individual projects. Collaboration begins with a discussion, and that exchange frames the outcome of any project. It is a shared authorship and to work in such a way, one must be ready to let go of preconceived ideas and to be ready for whatever might arise.

Valerie LeBlanc and Daniel H. Dugas


To accommodate the time frame for the venue afforded by the library, the Q&A was pushed to the end of the day. One member of the audience, Surrey-based poet Brian Mohr, has a story worth mentioning. When he showed up at the gallery to see the exhibition on Saturday morning after the storm, he was redirected to the library. He knew about the exhibition but not about the symposium. Brian, who is in the process of making his first videopoem, went with the flow and ended up participating in the event. He had a question for the panel about using video games as source locations for videopoetry. Several presenters addressed his question and according to discussions we had with him later, the symposium gathering was of utmost importance to his development as a videopoet.

Just as Jordan Strom finished his closing remarks, a loudspeaker announcement resonated through the building: “The library will be closing in five minutes!” Videopoetry is all about timing, and so was the conclusion of the symposium.

A symposium is designed to bring together, a group of people with common interests. When they come away from the meeting, they should have learned something new, made new connections, and should have possibly established the grounds for future collaborations. The Surrey Symposium made visible a complex web of relations and affinities between videopoets. It revealed the contour of a community of artists/poets, and affirmed that we are not isolated, that we are not living in a vacuum; that we have a place in the world. This sentiment was echoed in a comment that Kurt Heintz wrote on an email thread after the Symposium:

While I have long been aware that I’m not the only person doing what I do, I’ve often felt quite solitary. And so, one of the biggest takeaways for me is simply having experienced a critical mass of minds, if only for a weekend. Certainly, we’re all very different people with different perspectives on the art we make and/or study. Our critical languages often differ. And we’re far-flung; the exhibit plainly speaks to the international origins for poetry in cinematic form. And yet, that very mix is what actually pointed to a body politic.

This symposium answered some questions surrounding the creation of videopoetry. It also made it clear that videopoetry operates on many different levels of consciousness. The event accomplished its mission, and if there might be an idea to improve upon the gatherings, it might be to increase the meeting to a full day, which would allow more time for Q&A as well as informal discussions. A dream would be to have a bi-annual videopoetry symposium.

From the art gallery to the library, this symposium managed to bridge two of the fundamental sites of videopoetry: visuals and words. The voices that we heard on that afternoon were the third element — a perfect poetic juxtaposition.

Seated left to right: Adeena Karasick, Fiona Tinwei Lam, Jim Andrews, Annie Frazier Henry, Jordan Strom
Second row: Kurt Heintz, Sarah Tremlett, Heather Haley, Valerie LeBlanc, Daniel H. Dugas, Tom Konyves

Photos: Pardeep Singh

IT’S ALIVE! Visible Verse Festival announces new director, issues call for entries

Visible Verse image - eyeball in mouth

Vancouver’s Visible Verse Festival is the longest-running poetry film and videopoetry festival in North America, and last April we shared the sad news that its founder and long-time director Heather Haley had reluctantly decided that she couldn’t do it anymore. Today on their Facebook group page, however, writer and entrepreneur Ray Hsu posted:

Just wanted to give y’all a heads up that Visible Verse is on for this October. Longtime Artistic Director Heather Haley will continue to offer her wealth of knowledge as an Advisor while I will step in as Artistic Director. I will try my absolute best to fill her shoes. :)

And he shared this Call for Entries:


Call for Entries and Official Guidelines:

We seek videopoems and poetry films with a 7 minute maximum duration.

Works will be judged by their aesthetic interest, innovation and the integration/interplay between film and poetry.

The ideal video poem plays with image and word, whether the words are seen, heard or otherwise approached in the context of the piece.

Please do not send documentaries as they are beyond the scope of this genre.

Entries in any language are accepted, though if the video is not in English, then an English-dubbed or -subtitled version is preferred. Videopoems may come from any part of the world.

Please submit by sending the URL to your videopoem for previewing, along with a brief bio and contact information to Ray Hsu (Artistic Director) at drrayhsu@gmail.com.

If selected, you will receive notification and further instructions. Selected artists will be paid a standard screening fee.

VISIBLE VERSE FESTIVAL 2015 is scheduled to take place in October at the Cinematheque in Vancouver, Canada, in October.

DEADLINE: August 15, 2015

This is such great news. A huge thanks to Ray Hsu for stepping up and to Heather Haley for agreeing to stay on in an advisory capacity. Please join me in wishing them every success in this transition period, and do consider sending your best work.

It’s official: Visible Verse Festival discontinued

Visible Verse logoUPDATE: Visible Verse will continue after all!

Vancouver’s long-running Visible Verse Festival, which justly described itself as “North America’s sustaining venue for the presentation of new and artistically significant videopoetry and film,” is coming to a close. Festival organizer Heather Haley first mentioned the likelihood of discontinuing it in an update to her personal Facebook page last fall, after the successful completion of the 2014 festival. She’s now made it official with a post to the Visible Verse Facebook group:

It is with great sadness that I must inform you, my fellow videopoem and poetry film aficionados, that the Visible Verse Festival is coming to a close. My circumstances have changed drastically in the past few years and I can no longer afford to donate my time, especially as the work load, along with the festival, continues to grow. I now have a *real job,* rather a crappy job but one has to pay the bills, so neither do I have time to seek funding or find a sponsor. I am very grateful to the Cinematheque’s volunteers and staff, especially Artistic Director Jim Sinclair. We had a great run! I will keep this group page up, please feel free to continue posting and sharing.

Originally known as the Vancouver Videopoem Festival, it had its first run in 1999, found a home at The Cinematheque the following year, and ran every year since, with Haley doing most of the work single-handedly. Historically speaking, along with VideoBardo in Buenos Aires (biannual since 1996), Visible Verse bridged the gap between the Poetry Film Festival/Cin(E)-Poetry Festival in San Francisco—the world’s first poetry film festival, which ran from 1975 to 1998—and ZEBRA, PoetryFilm, TARP, Sadho, and all the other poetry-film festivals and organizations that sprang up in the new millennium. Haley also helped set the tone for many of these later festivals with her eclectic and inclusive approach to programming, representing mainstream, avant-garde, and spoken-word communities in roughly equal measure. She was a major inspiration for Moving Poems, as well. Visible Verse will be missed, but here’s hoping that Haley continues to direct her own poetry films and collaborate with other filmmakers as time permits.

2014 Visible Verse program

Ladies & Gentlemen! Announcing the 2014 VISIBLE VERSE FESTIVAL program:

  • On a Prophet | David Richardson/Kathleen Roberts. Spencer, Indiana 2014.
  • Indefinite Animals | Martha McCollough. Boston, MA 2014.
  • In The Turning | Sarah Tremlett. Bath, England 2014.
  • Genocide Is My Man United | Kevin Barrington. Dublin, Ireland 2014
  • Proxy Bounce | Ian Keteku. Toronto, ON 2014
  • Out of the Forest-Sleight of Tree | J.P. Sipilä. Helsinki, Finland 2014.
  • words/birds | vvitalny. Brooklyn, NY 2012.
  • PROEM to Brooklyn Bridge | Suzie Hanna/Hart Crane. Norwich, UK 2013.
  • Again and Again | Igor Andreevski. Amsterdam, Netherlands 2014.
  • 1962 | Diana Taylor/Robin Kidson. Bristol, UK 2013
  • The Killing | Swoon/Howie Good. Mechelen, Belgium 2013.
  • Je tombe | Svitlana Reinish, Elena Semak. Kiev, Ukraine 2014.
  • Penelopiad | Jade Anouka. London, UK 2012.
  • In Hell | Michael Murnau. London, UK 2012.
  • Ella (Her) | Javier Reta. Madrid, Spain 2013.
  • If I Can Sing a Song about Ligatures | Abigail Child. New York, NY 2009.
  • What The Flute Wants to Sing | Karin Hazé/Moe Clark. Haida Gwaii, BC 2013.
  • Reservation | Kevin Barrington. Dublin, Ireland 2014.
  • The Elephant is Contagious | Simon O’Neill/Eabha Rose. Dublin, Ireland 2014.


  • Back to You | Karen Mary Berr. Paris, France 2013.
  • Keepsake | Elizabeth Johnston. Montreal, QC 2013.
  • Equus Caballus | H. Paul Moon/Joel Nelson. Elko, Nevada 2013.
  • Embroidered | Andy Bonjour. Steubenville, Ohio 2014.
  • Babel Death Star | Jeff Cruz/Kirk Ramdath. Calgary, AB 2014.
  • Kenneth Patchen | J.R. Phillips. Los Angeles, CA 2009.
  • WALLS | Walter Forsyth/Andrath Whynacht. Dartmouth, Nova Scotia 2013.
  • Florid Psychosis | Othniel Smith/Bill Yarro. Cardiff, Wales 2013.
  • My Dolls | Pete Burkeet/Melissa Barrett. Columbus, Ohio 2014.
  • Aylool MacKenzie’s Convenient Skytrain Deppaneur | Tom Wiebe/Lyle Neff. Vancouver, BC 2014.
  • My Country | Jelena Sinkik/Ralph Stevenson. Maroubra, Australia 2014.
  • America | Sophie LeNeveau/Allen Ginsberg. Jupiter, FL 2012.
  • Late | Keith Sargeant. London, UK 2014.
  • Prism | Jamey Hastings/Price Strobridge. Colorado Springs, CO 2013.
  • Tasting the End | Dean Pasch. Munich, Germany 2014.
  • Deathless Man | Lena Samoylenko. Kiev, Ukraine 2014.
  • Some Trees | Kurtis Hough/John Ashberry. Portland, OR 2014.
  • Marianne | Richard O’ Connor. New York, NY 2014.

7 pm, Sat, Oct. 18 at the Cinematheque in Vancouver, Canada

Visible Verse logo

Two Elizabeth Bishop filmpoems and the art of Heather Haley

The latest installments from our two favorite monthly columnists don’t disappoint. In his “Swoon’s View” column at Awkword Paper Cut, Marc Neys considers “Two Cinematic Approaches to the poetry of Elizabeth Bishop”: “First Death in Nova Scotia” by John Scott, and “Where are the Dolls” by Cassandra Nicolaou.

The editing is thoughtful and draws the viewer inside the story (I love the jump cuts between the introvert close-ups of the woman and the loud and intimidating girls). Nicolaou did an amazing job in translating the poem to this day and age with respect and love for the original words, accenting the power of Elizabeth Bishop’s poetry. And when it’s over, I want to see it again.

And in her “Third Form” column at Connotation Press, Erica Goss mixes interview with analysis for an in-depth portrait of Heather Haley, organizer of the long-running Visible Verse Festival in Vancouver and a talented filmmaker in her own right.

Heather Haley’s videos take risks. They deal with domestic violence, eating disorders, prostitution, and other serious issues that affect society. “I don’t set out to deliver a message. I don’t like being preached at and I don’t want to preach. My work comes from my experience, but it’s also universal. I don’t theorize,” Heather told me. “There’s not enough time for that.”

2013 Visible Verse Festival programme announced

The 2013 VISIBLE VERSE FESTIVAL programme has been announced at the Cinematheque’s website:

Visible Verse, The Cinematheque’s annual festival of video poetry, is back! Vancouver poet, author, musician, and media artist Heather Haley curates and hosts our celebration of this hybrid creative form, which integrates verse with media-art visuals produced by a camera or a computer. The 2013 festival will be selected from more than 150 entries received from artists around the world. As well, we are happy to host Colorado poet and filmmaker R.W. Perkins, who will give an artist’s talk on video poetry and filmmaking.

Video poetry and poetry film festivals and sites continue to pop up all over the world; The Cinematheque’s Visible Verse Festival is proud to maintain its position as North America’s sustaining venue for artistically significant video poetry. As founder of both the original Vancouver Videopoem Festival and Visible Verse, Heather Haley has provided a platform for the genre since 1999, and has also vigorously contributed to the theoretical knowledge of the form. Ms. Haley was honoured for her work with a 2012 Pandora’s Literary Award.

Click through for the full listing of film notes and showtimes. In a post at her blog One Life, Haley goes into a bit more detail about the selection process and the special artist’s talk:

As with last year, we received a record number of entries, over 200. … We received stellar works from South Africa, Thailand, Germany, Belgium, Portugal, Canada, the U.S, Ireland and the UK. With only one night of screenings, I am unable to include a lot of video poems I like.

Fortunately the program does include Literary Movement, a discussion with R.W. Perkins on the process of creating videopoems and the integration of modern filmmaking techniques, Q&A to follow. We will be screening his videopems Morning Sex & Blueberry Pancakes and Small Talk & Little Else. R.W. Perkins is a poet and filmmaker from Fort Collins, Colorado. His work has been published in the Atticus Review, Moving Poems, The Denver Egotist, The Connotation Press, and The Huffington Post Denver. Perkins’s work has been featured at film festivals all over the world, including an 18-state U.S. tour with the New Belgium Brewery’s Clips of Faith Beer & Film Tour in 2012 and at the ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival in Berlin, Germany. Perkins is also the creator and director of The Body Electric Poetry Film Festival, Colorado’s first poetry film festival, which held its inaugural event in May of this year. For more information on Perkins and his work, visit www.rw-perkins.com. We’re thrilled to have him!

The festival is Sat, Oct. 12 at the Cinematheque in Vancouver. My son has promised to edit a trailer for me, I’ll post it asap. *See* you there!

VISIBLE VERSE FESTIVAL 2013 Call for Entries and Official Guidelines

  • VVF seeks videopoems with a 12 minutes maximum duration.
  • Works will be judged by their innovation, cohesion and literary merit. The ideal videopoem is a wedding of word and image, the voice seen as well as heard.
  • Please do not send documentaries as they are outside the featured genre.
  • Either official language of Canada is acceptable, though if the video is in French, an English-dubbed or-subtitled version is required. Videopoems may originate in any part of the world.
  • Please submit by sending the URL for your videopoem along with a brief bio, full name, and contact information to Artistic Director Heather Haley at hshaley@emspace.com. There is no official application form nor entry fee.


VISIBLE VERSE FESTIVAL 2013 Call for Entries and Official Guidelines

  • VVF seeks videopoems with a 12 minutes maximum duration.
  • Works will be judged by their innovation, cohesion and literary merit. The ideal videopoem is a wedding of word and image, the voice seen as well as heard.
  • Please do not send documentaries as they are outside the featured genre.
  • Either official language of Canada is acceptable, though if the video is in French, an English-dubbed or-subtitled version is required. Videopoems may originate in any part of the world.
  • Please submit by sending the URL for your videopoem along with a brief bio, full name, and contact information to Artistic Director Heather Haley at hshaley@emspace.com. There is no official application form nor entry fee.

DEADLINE: Aug. 1, 2013

See the website for more, including a postmortem on Visible Verse 2012. To view more videopoems by various artists, visit Visible Verse on Facebook.

Visible Verse Festival organizer posts detailed “post-mortem”

Heather Haley, indefatigable organizer of Vancouver’s Visible Verse Festival, has just blogged a detailed account of this year’s festival, complete with descriptions of, and links to, each poetry film in the lineup.

“The best year yet!” is what I was told repeatedly. Good turnout, a bit of press coverage, and wonderful new staff to work with, the festival is definitely entering a new phase. Changing the date from November to October, immediately following the Vancouver International Film Festival helped raise our profile, and get more bums in the seats.

Go read the rest.

Vancouver’s Visible Verse Festival goes global!

Reposted from the Visible Verse Facebook page

We have lots of exciting changes in store for this year’s Visible Verse Festival! The date has been moved from November to Saturday, October 13, directly following the Vancouver International Film Festival and the program, still in the works, will include entries from 56 international artists and 100 videopoems from Australia, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Mexico, Norway, Portugal, Poland, Russia, the U.S. and Canada. And for the first time, we are exchanging videopoems with Argentina’s VideoBardo Festival and featuring a selection from their 2012 program. As well, we are happy to host Alberta artist Phillip Jagger who will perform his poetry and present “Reigning In Chaos: Words Into Video”, a hands-on workshop demonstrating the use of handcrafted video, a Kaos pad, iPod and video jamming software.

With videopoetry and poetry film festivals and sites popping up all over the world, Vancouver and Pacific Cinematheque’s Visible Verse Festival maintains its position as North America’s sustaining venue for artistically significant videopoetry. As founder of the Vancouver Videopoem Festival and Visible Verse, curator and host Heather Haley has provided a venue for the genre since 1999 and vigorously contributed to the theoretical knowledge of the form. Haley is to be honored for her work with a Pandora Literary Award and has been invited to present a keynote address at the 4th VideoBardo Festival/Conference in Buenos Aires in November on the theme of “Videopoetry; New Perspectives on an Interdisciplinary Practice.”


Pacific Cinémathèque website


Pacific Cinematheque map
view on Google Maps

Call for submissions: 2012 Visible Verse Festival

FYI, notice no more DVDs necessary for previews.

VISIBLE VERSE FESTIVAL @ Pacific Cinémathèque in Vancouver, Canada

Call for Entries and Official Guidelines

  • VVF seeks videopoems with a 12 minutes maximum duration.
  • Works will be judged by their innovation, cohesion and literary merit. The ideal videopoem is a wedding of word and image, the voice seen as well as heard.
  • Please do not send documentaries as they are outside the featured genre.
  • Either official language of Canada is acceptable, though if the video is in French, an English-dubbed or-subtitled version is required. Videopoems may originate in any part of the world.
  • Please submit by sending the URL for your videopoem along with a brief bio, full name, and contact information to hshaley@emspace.com. There is no official application form nor entry fee.

DEADLINE: Sept. 1, 2012

For more information contact Artistic Director Heather Haley at: hshaley@emspace.com

Reposted from the Visible Verse group page on Facebook.

Videopoetry discussions elsewhere: text vs. voice, art or entertainment, and a new weekly column

Several interesting discussions of videopoetry theory and practice have popped up around the blogosphere over the past several weeks, initiated by videopoets whose names should be familiar to followers of Moving Poems.

1. Using text vs voice in videopoems

Nic S.’s thoughtful blog post responded to a point in Tom Konyves’ Videopoetry: A Manifesto about the use of visual text, and Tom stopped by to clarify what he meant in the comments. A fascinating conversation ensued.

2. Visible Verse Festival 2011 • Art or Entertainment; do I really have to choose?

Heather Haley, organizer of the Visible Verse festival in Vancouver (which I hope all Moving Poems followers from the Pacific northwest will be attending this weekend!), shares a bit of her thinking behind the festival in particular and the genre in general at her blog One Life.

Videopoetry or poetry video. Film or video? And then there is cinema to consider. I find semantics tedious. My reaction to the insistence there be a formal definition of the genre, is, why? Don’t we have enough divides? We live in the age of the mashup. Isn’t that merging? Fusion? Transformation? In any case, I have faith in the poet’s ability to render his or her poem. Via video or film, a poet will explore, push the boundaries of image, language and sound. Whether it’s illustrative or conceptual, I trust the poet to make choices, to create a work according to his individual style and sensibilities. Vision. While I can’t abide cliché or literal translations, surely there’s room for both narrative and non-narrative treatments. One man’s execution is another man’s experiment. One man’s amusement is another man’s pith.

3. “Friday Film and Video Poem” series at Rubies in Crystal

Aside from a scattering of brief, general essays and blog posts, plus occasional process notes from videopoets, there’s been an almost total lack of meaningful literary/film criticism of videopoetry and related genres focusing on individual films and artists. Brenda Clews has begun to fill this void with a weekly series at her blog.

  • A Hundred and Forty Suns by Jonathan Blair

    After the Kafkaesque beginning with insect-like noises that become a mechanical factory of looped wheels and cogs, the organic sound of drumming as the light increases is warm, comforting. And the light is shining, shining into the perception of the animated character who responds with joy, and into the screen where we as viewers feel that pleasure. Ultimately this film imparts joy, beauty, forgiveness, transcendence, the pulse of life renewed anew.

  • ‘immersion /2’ by Sheila Packa and Kathy McTavish

    Unlike traditional Bokeh, there is no foreground subject. Rather we are immersed in an ever-shifting slow-moving background. It is as if she composes abstract expressionist artwork before our eyes, painting with light and colour.

  • ‘Ground’ by Ginnetta Correli

    Ground is hauntingly beautiful, in a disturbing way. In the embracing mindfulness, a poetry of poison, death, loss, and beauty, all of which is natural, found in the natural world, amidst a surreality. We feel cross-currents, disambiguations, and yet the over-arching journey metaphor of Cook’s minimalist poetry, and the bond of love he speaks of, yes, living is like this. Simply a superb film.

  • ‘SHED’ by Christina McPhee

    I consider SHED a genre-crossing piece that brings together a poetry of drawing and video editing. It is a multiplicity, a place of vectors. The nodes and intensities are democratic, without hierarchy; they are nomads drawn into being by the brush of India and acrylic ink and red paint encrusted on the paper by the artist.