~ Lucy English ~

Call for poetry films: Newlyn Film Festival

A new international film festival slated for April 6-8th, 2018 at the The Centre, Newlyn, Cornwall, UK will include a poetry film section, selected by judges Lucy English and Sarah Tremlett, who should be well known to readers of Moving Poems. The deadline is January 31 February 21, 2018. Here are the guidelines. To see the categories and submission fees for each, click through to Film Freeway and look on the right-hand sidebar. Poetry films can be up to six minutes long, and are “limited to one per applicant.”

The other categories are Fiction Film, Student Film, and Documentary. General advice on eligibility notes that “The Festival is open to short films of all production techniques, including animation, documentary, drama, experimental or artist film and hybrid work from low to high budgets.”

Updated 2 October to correct information about the maximum duration of poetry films.

Review of Poetry Film screening at the MIX conference

Bath Spa University, July 2017

 MIX 2017 poetry films programme cover

Revolution, Regeneration, Reflections. These were the themes chosen for the MIX 2017 conference to celebrate the human capacity for renewal and experimentation combined with deep thought and to look at where creative writing, storytelling, and media creation intersect with and/or are dependent upon technology. The programme featured a mix of academic papers, practitioner presentations, seminars, keynotes, discussions, workshops and poetry film screenings.

Artists/poets and digital writers were asked to submit poetry films/film poems/video poetry responding to these themes. Nineteen poetry films from the international submissions received were screened throughout the duration of the conference.

The selection was curated by Lucy English, Reader in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University and co-founder of Liberated Words, and Zata Banks, founder of PoetryFilm, an influential research arts project and film screening series.

I wondered if the themes of revolution, regeneration and reflections were too optimistic in theme. Perhaps war, power, consumerism, genocide, apocalypse, violence and chaos are nearer to what governs our thoughts at present.

Some of the poetry films covered predictable ground: love, word play, abstracts and introspection. Other films braved the realms of suicide, oppression, humour and sustainability. Some were cleverly and/or beautifully designed, others revealed their workings (you almost saw the filmmaker at work).

The curation itself was expertly put together. The viewer could watch to the end without feeling bombarded or overwhelmed, while at the same time feeling they had traveled; a journey which was troubling at times, more re-assuring at the end. We were taken from political marginalisation and resistance to universal sustainability in 19 films.

The first film, If We Must Die by Othneil Smith, used imagery from a 1970s Blaxploitation film to highlight resistance and a 1919 sonnet written in response to attacks on African-American communities, and began:

If we must die, let it not be like hogs
Hunted and penned in an inglorious spot,
While round us bark the mad and hungry dogs,
Making their mock at our accursed lot.

The last film, Kate Flaherty’s A Mouse’s Prayer, with a delicate voice and a mouse’s prayer to the moon, ended:

O moon, you see me
when others do not,
you know my brown fur’s sheen,
and you reflect for me
my own great smallness
in your immensely
dark and speckled sky.

At the end of the first film and the beginning of the last film, the viewer literally looked into someone’s face. This created an intimate space, connected the viewer to the personal and forged the link between responsibility and hope.

Whilst I watched, I kept thinking: this is a poet’s curation (but then, what is a poetry film if it’s not poetry?). There were no long distracting pages of seemingly endless credits, no words were trying to compete with images and there were no excessive soundtracks. Almost all the films selected had near equal elements of sound, image and text.

Selecting for a poetry film curation isn’t just about choosing the best films submitted. The films need to sit alongside one another to flow, illuminate, juxtapose — the whole should be greater than the sum of its parts.

I was able to recognize Zata’s experimental film choices that invited us to focus on semiotics. The meaning making systems in the elements that make up the films (sound, movement, etc). In Matthew Griffith’s Pain in Colour, we were asked to find meaning through colour, movement and sound but with no words.

But can you have a poem without words? I’m not sure. But I know you can have a ‘poetic experience’ and Pain in Colour offered up its own meanings within the whole curation. I’m not sure it would have done so on its own. I would prefer to see it in a gallery space, where I may be less self-conscious of finding a specific context and meaning.

The territory of poetry film is still being mapped. And as I watched the films the nagging question hanging in the mainly empty auditorium was ‘What is poetry film?’ The curation didn’t direct me to the answer. But it led me to wonder if poetry film needs to be more confident in embracing its own genres (whether that is seen as another type of art film or an entirely new genre of poetry), and then we may be nearer to developing clearer analytical language and critical discourses.

In the middle of the curation, the background evangelist in Cindy St. Onge’s Road to Damascus and the end line in Dave Bonta’s Grassland, “I’ll break like bread at your table”, gave a jolt toward the anxieties of faith and a hope for something more, and was a reminder that the curation was a journey from resistance to sustainability.

Angie Bogachenko’s version of Oracle of a Found Shoe and the collaboration between Cheryl Gross and Lucy English, Shop, both animations, demonstrated that animation works when the images and words work together, where you can’t see the seam between the two. Both showed the strength of the poem and the skill of the animator.

I noted that 11 of the 19 films, by nature of the poem or the choice of presentation, had a strong performance element. This reflects the balance of new work that I have seen emerging elsewhere. Poetry film is an ideal medium to embody spoken word poetry, and as a genre I think it will bring an immediate and urgent contribution to the field.

By design or chance, the curation at MIX 2017 brought a rhythm, line by line, film by film, that on a large scale was sustained to the end. The themes created a forward momentum — and that reflects the journey of poetry film itself.

Lucy English on poetry-film collaboration

The British poet and poetry-film scholar Lucy English has a very interesting essay in Sabotage recounting the genesis of her Book of Hours project and how she’s adapted her poetic style to the exigencies of collaborative poetry-film creation.

When I tell people I am working on a poetry film project they make the assumption that I am creating films of myself reading or performing poetry. This is a natural response as I am a spoken word poet and, typically, my work is delivered live to an audience. My desire to create poetry films has made me re-evaluate the type of poetry I write, what word choices to use and what form it takes. As I developed The Book of Hours I have experimented with the placement of spoken poetry in a poetry film and formulated definitions of how a ‘poetry film’ differs from other filmic interpretations of poetry such as films of poets reading their work or ‘film poems’; short poetic films. The poetry I have written for this project is leaner, and more focused. There is more ‘space’ within the words for the moving images to interact and more silence. In The Book of Hours I have attempted to bring the delicate poetry film form, which is a growing but niche area of poetry, into the populist and digitally distributed arena of spoken word.

Read the rest.

Lucy English interviewed about filmpoetry on Carpool Poetry

The latest episode of a new YouTube series from Burning Eye Books features a lovely interview with UK poet and poetry-film expert Lucy English.

Clive Birnie talks to Lucy English about her filmpoem project Book of Hours (http://thebookofhours.org), Liberated Words (http://liberatedwords.com) and Rebecca Tantony’s one-to-one poetry show All the Journeys I Never Took (http://rebecca-tantony.com/projects) which Lucy produced.

Burning Eye Books are “a small independent publisher in the South West predominately specialising in promoting spoken word artists.”

Incidentally, Lucy English wasn’t the first poet to draw a connection between Medieval illuminated manuscripts and poetry films; I suppose it’s a natural association to make. The Chicago-based poet Gerard Wozek, who has been making poetry videos with artist Mary Russell since 2000, has a good essay about poetry video on his website which was invaluable to me when I was starting Moving Poems back in 2009. I still quote his succinct definition on MP’s About page:

A poetry video is an illuminated electronic manuscript that records the voice, the spirit, and vision of the poet, and frames this technological intersection between visual art and literature.

Call for poetry films: MIX 2017 conference

conference banner

Bath Spa University’s bucolic Newton Park campus may seem an unlikely venue for an important international conference on writing and technology, but apparently it has “the best specialist digital and studio resources for teaching in the South West [U.K.] – equal to anything found in top commercial organisations and broadcast companies.” The MIX 2017 conference sounds truly interdisciplinary, with “a vibrant mix of academic papers, practitioner presentations, seminars, keynotes, discussions and workshops. Alongside scholars and researchers, artists, creative writers and creative technologists interested in literary forms are welcome to submit proposals.” More to the point for our interests, the organizers have issued a special call for poetry films.





The themes for this year’s conference are revolutions, regenerations, reflections. We would like to encourage artists/poets and digital writers to submit poetry films/ film poems/video poetry to be screened during MIX in our Viewing Theatre at Newton Park campus. Poetry films/ film poems/ video poetry is an emerging genre that fuses the use of spoken-word poetry, visual images, and sound to create a stronger representation and interpretation of the meaning being conveyed.



Short films should be submitted via email using a direct link to Youtube, Vimeo or an open link to Dropbox or WeTransfer. The email subject line should read ‘Your Name; Poetry Film Submission’ and the body of the email should include a 50-word description of the film.

Maximum 2 submissions per artist, these can be sent in the same email. This email should be sent to mix@bathspa.ac.uk by Wednesday 1st March.

The films will be selected and curated by Lucy English, Reader in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University, and Zata Banks (founder of PoetryFilm research art project https://poetryfilm.org)



4K HD projector and 5.1 surround sound



  • Poetry films/ film poems/ video poetry up to 3 minutes.
  • Submitted via email using a direct link to Youtube, Vimeo or an open link to Dropbox or WeTransfer.
  • Email subject: ‘Your Name; Poetry Film Submission’; and the body of the email should include a 50-word description of the film.
  • No more than 2 submissions per artist, these can be sent in the same email.
  • Films must relate in some way to the conference’s themes: Revolutions, Regenerations and Reflections.
  • English language or with English language subtitles.
  • Deadline: Wednesday 1st March 2017.


If you would like to attend the conference please click on the ‘Bookings’ tab.

Filmmakers needed for a digital Book of Hours

Call for collaborators!!!! I am creating a contemporary digital re-imagining of a Book of Hours. I will be making forty eight poetry films to represent four times of day for each month of the year. Loki English, from Berlin, will be building the site. I have made five films with Marc Neys and one of these, A Postcard From My Future Self, was screened at Visible Verse in Vancouver. Helen Dewbery, Carolyn Patricia Richardson, Eduardo Yagüe and Maciek Piatek have also made films. I would be interested in hearing from other film makers. Let me know if you would like to be part of this project. Here is a link to the website.

I am exploring different approaches to making poetry films. With Marc Neys we started with the sound. With Helen Dewbery and Maciek we started with the images. I also have a selection of poetry and I am keen to write more. Please contact me for further information: Lucy English, slamlucy@hotmail.com.

Call for papers, presentations and works for exhibition: Writing Digital, 2-4 July 2015

After the success of the last two MIX DIGITAL conferences, Bath Spa University is hosting Writing Digital: MIX DIGITAL 3 in the newly completed Commons building at the Newton Park Campus, just outside of Bath. Bath Spa University’s School of Humanities and Creative Industries, with its stellar Creative Writing Department, is at the forefront of both research into and teaching of creative practice across many forms. MIX DIGITAL has established itself as an innovative forum for the discussion and exploration of writing and technology, attracting an international cohort of contributors from the UK, Australia, and Europe as well as North and South America. From 2015 the conference will be biennial and will become one of the flagship conferences for the university.

Writing Digital will take full advantage of our brand-new Commons building and its interactive spaces through hosting a vibrant mix of academic papers, practitioner presentations, seminars, keynotes, discussions and workshops, as well as an exhibition of work by conference participants.

Our partners, The Writing Platform, will showcase the two winning projects from the competitive bursaries they will have awarded earlier in 2015 for new creative writing and technology projects. There will also be a separate call to digital artists for entries to an international competition to create work for our Media Wall.

Confirmed keynotes include Naomi Alderman talking about how and why a literary novelist came to be the imaginative power behind the hugely successful apps, Zombies! Run, and The Walk.

Papers/presentations and workshops are invited in relation to the on-going themes of creative writing and digital technology, the future of the book, new forms of publishing, and new forms of digital curation, and in any of the following areas:

  • Digital fiction and digital poetry
  • Digital art and text
  • Non-fiction and multi-platform publication (digital and print)
  • Digital and interactive scriptwriting (including theatre-making and film -making)
  • Transmedia practice
  • Collaborations between writers and technologists
  • Participatory media
  • Transnational creativity

In partnership with the Digital Cultures Research Centre at UWE there will be co-curated strand for which presentations on the following are sought around either the practice of interactive documentary and or the emergent field of ‘ambient literature’, including mobile, locative, and other site-specific storytelling forms.

In partnership with Bath Spa’s Media Futures Research Centre there will be co-curated strand on ‘Analogue Futures’ for which invitations on the following are sought: the digitalisation of writing practices and techniques; remediation associated with emerging digital technologies; slow media; concepts and cultures of vintage, heritage and authenticity; sustainability and materiality within the realm of digital media.

Workshops on creative practice and pedagogical papers in relation to any aspect of the above are welcome. Please note that works submitted for exhibition will not be considered unless the artist is attending the conference.

A selection of conference papers will be developed for publication in a special issue of a peer-reviewed journal of international standing.

There will also be a separate competitive international call to create a new artwork for our eight-metre high digital gallery space, MediaWall; this work will be launched during Writing Digital.

Abstracts of up to 300 words for a 20-minute paper/presentation or a 90-minute workshop should be sent to mixdigital2015@gmail.com by 31 January 2015. Conference booking will open in November. A limited number of rooms on campus will be available for delegates.

Liberated Words offers unprecedented online access to the content of its festival

Liberated Words logoPoetry film festivals vary tremendously in their web presence, some little more than a Facebook page or a mention on the website of a related organization. Given that many are run by just one or two over-worked volunteers, it’s not surprising that putting content on the web would take a back seat to the immense logistical challenges of soliciting and judging submissions and planning the actual, meat-space festival. But for those with paid staff, interns, and/or crazy people who never sleep, bigger things are possible. I’m not sure whether that characterization applies precisely to the organizers of the Bristol, UK-based Liberated Words Poetry Film Festival, which just wrapped up its third annual event this weekend, but they are definitely raising the bar on how poetry film festivals share information and content.

First, information. For the second year in a row, Sarah Tremlett and Lucy English have produced a lengthy (58-page), full-color brochure and published it online via Issuu. (See also the 2013 brochure.) Illustrated by stills from the films and photos of some of the participants, the brochures contain detailed descriptions of each film and the people who made it — in many cases, information not found elsewhere in the web, to my knowledge (at least, not in English). So I learned some new things even about films and filmmakers I was already familiar with, to say nothing about work I hadn’t seen yet. This year’s brochure also includes statements from the organizers of four other, cooperating festivals: TARP, Zebra, Visible Verse, and VideoBardo. I especially appreciated VideoBardo organizer Javier Robledo’s essay (pp. 32-34), a wide-ranging exploration of where poetry film fits in the history of human use of written and spoken language, moving images, and audiovisual media.

As for the films, 21 of them have now been uploaded to the Liberated Words account on Vimeo. I’m not sure why they switched from YouTube, where the 2013 festival films are archived — possibly because so many professional filmmakers prefer Vimeo. But in any case, I applaud their decision to upload their own copies to the web rather than simply organize the various creators’ uploads into a channel or album. This way, their archives are secured against videos going M.I.A. (in contrast to the Moving Poems archives, as I was just complaining yesterday). Presuming the festival continues for a number of years, this online video library should become a very valuable resource indeed — especially given all the information about the films available in the brochures.

Call for entries: Liberated Words III poetry film festival

Somehow I missed this back on April 1 (I blame my feed reader), but the deadline isn’t until July 30th, so there’s plenty of time to get a submission in:

Liberated Words III poetry film festival

September 2014, Bristol Poetry Festival

Call for poetry films


Following the success of Liberated Words Poetry Film Festival at Bristol Poetry Festival in October 2013 festival organisers poetry filmmaker and writer Sarah Tremlett and performance poet Lucy English welcome poetry films of 3 minutes or less to be screened at Arnolfini, Bristol as part of Bristol Poetry Festival 2014 (15–21 September 2014), with a projected further two screenings at Komedia and The Little Theatre Cinema in Bath in February 2015.

Whilst still in the process of finalising the programme (including a surprise international guest) we are pleased to announce that this year, as well as welcoming our returning US music judges Rich Ferguson and Mark Wilkinson and screening the best films from Argentina and Vancouver from our partners VideoBardo and Visible Verse, some of the events we will be showcasing are: a groundbreaking poetry film from Action on Hearing Loss and the best of young local talent through a schools’ poetry film project with last year’s prize winners Helen Moore and Howard Vause – currently featuring St Gregory’s Catholic College in Bath and St Brendan’s Sixth Form College in Bristol; providing a workshop with the international poetry filmmaker Marc Neys, and supporting commemorative events for the 1914–18 war we will also be hosting a panel discussion on the legacy of Dada and Surrealism in poetry film today.

We will also be requesting submissions for two categories:

1 Open Call on the theme of Memory

2 Commemorating the anniversary of the 1914–1918 war we are also requesting poems in response to a poet of the time – to be announced.

All accepted entries will be screened and archived on Liberated Words website. We will be presenting awards for the best editing for poetic effect and best music throughout the festival.

Submission deadline 30th July 2013. Please send to l.english@bathspa.ac.uk

Entry forms

To enter your films please download and read the Rules and Regulations then download and fill in the Entry Form and Release Form and email your submission to l.english@bathspa.ac.uk

Liberated Words CIC Rules and Regulations 2014 (click to download)

Liberated Words CIC poetry film festival release form 2014 (click to download)

Liberated Words CIC open call memory entry form 2014 (click to download)

Visit the Liberated Words website for more, including examples of films screened at last year’s festival.

Liberated Words Poetry Film Festival

3rd October National Poetry Day, The Arnolfini, Bristol Poetry Festival, 2013

Liberated Words is the home of the first annual international poetry film festival in the UK, celebrating poetry on screen in many forms, combining original and adapted written poems, with spoken word, images, music and other forms of sound effects. This is a burgeoning genre with a strong tie between music, text and image.

Founded by performance poet and novelist Lucy English (Reader in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University) and Sarah Tremlett – media poet and arts writer (PhD on media poetry at The University of the Arts, London), Liberated Words began as part of Bath Spa University’s MIX Conference, at Corsham Court, 2012 in order to bring poetry film to the general public.

Liberated Words has been invited by Colin Brown of Poetry Can to present a one day event as part of Bristol Poetry Festival on October 3rd.

At the Liberated Words Poetry Film festival there are international screenings from our partners VideoBardo in Buenos Aires and Visible Verse in Vancouver, and talks from TS Eliot prize-winning poet Philip Gross, award-winning, Bristol-based film-maker Joe Magee, animator Professor Suzie Hanna, poet David Johnson, media artist Professor Martin Rieser, and community media artist Jackie Calderwood.

This year we are presenting the finalists from two competitions – ‘Liberated Words open competition’ and ‘4 x 4’, which features new work created by an international selection of poets and filmmakers. We also have a ‘Spotlight’ section including acclaimed practitioners Tom Konyves, Machine Libertine and Jani Sipila.

For further information on Liberated Words please visit our website.

Putting the la into LA and Bristol!

We are inaugurating two awards — the best music /sound award and the best edited award. We are delighted to announce that our music judges will be LA-based spoken- word poet Rich Ferguson and film maker Mark Wilkinson — whose teamwork produced the memorable music-based poetry film Human Condition.

Dates and times:

The Liberated Words Poetry Film Festival will run from 10am-9pm on October 3rd.

The daytime session costs £5.00/ £3.00; the evening session costs £5.00/£3.00 and an all day ticket costs £8.00/£4.00. For further information on how to book a ticket, go to www.poetrycan.co.uk, e-mail boxoffice@arnolfini.org.uk or telephone 0117 917 2300.

Call for proposals due Jan. 31 for the 2013 MIX DIGITAL conference

I just noticed that the scholars behind the first MIX DIGITAL media conference last summer at Bath Spa University are planning another one this year. I’m sure they won’t mind if I reproduce the entire call for papers and presentations from their website:


Bath Spa University/The Writing Platform Conference, Corsham, England, 15-17 July, 2013.

Deadline for Abstracts: 31st January, 2013

Submit to Lucy English: l.english@bathspa.ac.uk

After the success of MIX 2012, Bath Spa University is co-hosting a second MIX DIGITAL conference, in partnership with The Writing Platform. This small-scale, intimate series of events will take place over three days at BSU’s Corsham Court campus, set in a Grade One-listed Jacobean mansion in the bucolic Wiltshire landscape.

This year the themes will be ‘Text on Screens: Making, Discovering, Teaching’. We invite papers and presentations of creative works that focus on making digital work, including fiction, e-poetry, videopoetry; mobile, locative, and site specific forms; digital non-fiction, games, text-based digital art, and other electronic, hybrid forms. We invite papers and presentations of creative works that focus on discovering digital work, including publishing, curating, gate-keeping, distributing, discoverability, search, audience and performance. We invite papers and presentations that focus on pedagogy and pedagogical issues in the fields of ‘text on screens’, digital transformations and digital humanities.

Papers will be published in a peer-reviewed e-journal; further details to be announced in 2013; e-journal edition to be published in 2014.

Proposals are welcome on the topics including, but not limited to, the following:

  • What does it mean to put text on a screen?
  • What new forms of storytelling are emerging?
  • Does reader/writer interaction – via, for example, social media and social reading platforms – transform the work?
  • Is writing itself altered by digitisation?
  • Publishing, distributing, gatekeeping and curating digital forms
  • Discoverabilty and search in the digital landscape
  • Transliteracy and transmedia
  • New forms of narrative and narrativity
  • Audience, performativity, e-performance
  • Disruption and transformation of narrative forms
  • Pedagogy: how do we teach, collect, and distribute new forms to students?

As well as this, we invite practitioners to send in proposals for presentations or performances of their creative digital works.

Conference Committee: Katharine Reeve (BSU), Lucy English (BSU), Sarah Tremlett (artist), Kate Pullinger (BSU), and Donna Hancox (QUT).

Conference Keynote Speakers will include Naomi Alderman and Sophie Rochester.

Abstracts of up to 300 words should be sent to Lucy English at: l.english@bathspa.ac.uk by 31st January, 2013.