~ Poetry Film Live ~

Poetry Film in Conversation: Janet Lees, Lee Campbell and Kathy Gee

This coming Thursday, 14th September at 19:30 BST/14:30 EDT, join Helen Dewbery on Zoom via Eventbrite for the latest installment of the series Poetry Film in Conversation from Poetry Film Live, with support from the Lyra Bristol Poetry Festival. This time she’ll be talking with three poets who make their own poetry films: Kathy Gee, Lee Campbell and Janet Lees, asking about their processes and raising the question “Why make a poetry film?”

Janet Lees is a lens-based artist and poet. Her films have been selected for many festivals and prizes, including the ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival, the International Videopoetry Festival and the Aesthetica Art Prize. In 2021 she won the Ó Bhéal International Poetry-Film Competition, and in 2022 her work featured in the landmark exhibition Poets with a Video Camera: Poetry Film 1980 to 2020. Janet’s poetry and art photography have been widely published and exhibited.

Kathy Gee studied history and archaeology, worked as a museum curator, established and directed a regional government agency, ran an independent museum consultancy and retrained as a leadership coach. She is now a poet. Checkout (2019) and Book of Bones (2016) were both published by V. Press. She has been shortlisted in the Ó Bhéal International Poetry-Film Competition.

Dr Lee Campbell’s poetry films have been selected for many international film festivals since 2019. His film SEE ME: A Walk Through London’s Gay Soho 1994 and 2020 (2021) won Best Experimental Film at Ealing Film Festival, London 2022 and shortlisted for Out-Spoken Prize for Poetry 2023 at the Southbank Centre, London in 2023. Insta and Twitter @leejjcampbell

New online series ‘Poetry Film in Conversation’ debuts February 9

Poetry Film Live and Lyra Bristol Poetry Festival are holding an online series of events, ‘Poetry Film in Conversation’. The events kick off on February 9th 19.30 (GMT) with Animation, Motion Graphics and Text on Screen. Diek Grobler, Suzie Hanna and Jane Glennie will each give a presentation (Suzie’s will be pre-recorded) followed by a panel discussion chaired by Lucy English, and finishing up with an audience Q&A.

Diek Grobler is an artist working in various media and disciplines. Since 2010 his creative and theoretical focus has been on animated poetry-film. His films have been widely exhibited on international animation festivals, and his work has been shortlisted twice for the Weimar Poetry-film Award. He was awarded a PhD in Art from the University of South Africa and is an independent researcher on Poetry-film and experimental forms of animation.

Diek Grobler – Mon Pays – screenshot

Jane Glennie is a filmmaker, typographer, and founder of Peculiarity Press. Her films have screened worldwide, featured on www.shondaland.com, and received awards at competitions in the UK, Germany, and USA. Her poetry film with Rosie Garland, funded by Arts Council England, has now been published as a ‘book of the film with extras’.

Suzie Hanna is Emerita Professor of Animation at Norwich University of the Arts. She was Chair of NAHEMI, the National Association for Higher Education in the Moving Image from 2016 – 2019, and remains an honorary member of the executive. As an animator who collaborates with other academics and artists, her research interests include animation, poetry, puppetry and sound design. She has made numerous short films all of which have been selected for international festival screenings, TV broadcast or exhibited in curated shows. She also creates improvised animated projections for live performances of music and poetry. Recent commissions include short films for BBC Ideas and Cambridge University Creative Encounters Programme. She contributes to journals, books and conferences, and has led several innovative projects including online international student collaborations and digital exhibitions of art and poetry on what was Europe’s largest public HiDef screen. She works as a production consultant and as an international academic examiner, and she was a member of the AHRC Peer Review College from 2009-2014.

To book tickets please go to Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/poetry-film-in-conversation-animation-motion-graphics-and-text-on-screen-tickets-516766210647

garden by Caleb Parkin

A film adaptation of Bristol-based writer Caleb Parkin‘s poem by Marius Grose, who shares some process notes on Poetry Film Live, where it first appeared two weeks ago.

The poetry film garden was made during April 2020 which was the beginning of the Corona virus lockdown in the UK. This meant that the production process was a bit different to how I would expect to work in normal times.

Caleb and I had discussed making a film towards the end of March and when lockdown happened, we suddenly had time to start a project. Using the internet we were able to work remotely and to collaborate using email, Zoom and the telephone.

As the poem is set in a garden we did not need to go out to get footage, so we could work and maintain the lockdown rules.

For me the main challenges were learning to use my DSLR camera to shoot movie footage and finding visual equivalences to the images in the poem. Household objects, from feather dusters, plastic tubing and dental floss, were pressed into service.

In discussions with Caleb the blurring of boundaries between the human body and nature became a theme that influenced how I approached the edit. Layering of images, keying and masks are central to the look of this film.

Hard to believe this is Marius’ first poetry film! But he’s worked in TV postproduction for decades, and says this was “a bit of a kid in a sweet shop experience.” Go read the rest of his remarks — and check out more of Poetry Film Live while you’re there.

Poetry Film Live relaunches

s reenshot of Poetry Film Live home page

Poetry film Live relaunched last Wednesday with new content and a slightly new focus. Published and edited by the poetry film-making duo Helen Dewbery and Chaucer Cameron, it has a new tagline, “A New Way with Poetry,” and is described as “a UK based webzine which publishes poetry film, performances, readings, essays and reviews. It is also the platform for Elephant’s Footprint online poetry film training.” A welcome message currently at the top of the home page goes into more detail:

Poetry Film Live has made some changes!

Following a brief furlough from the end of last year, Poetry Film Live has come back with a renewed focus on the work of poets and the type of poetry film that is a literary form. A form of poetry that is visual, not solely textual, that moves rather than stays put on a page.

Poetry Film Live has responded to the changes that have developed during the Covid19 pandemic. The future of poetry gatherings, reading series and open mics is uncertain both in the short and longer term, therefore, Poetry Film Live is including performances and readings of poetry.

These are new and exciting times and we hope you will consider participating and supporting Poetry Film Live by sending us your submissions, we look forward to seeing your work.

Start by watching the two videos below: ‘How to Make Voice Recordings from Home Better’ and ‘Top Tip for filming yourself reading a poem from a smartphone’.

We have also announced the launch of online poetry film training for poets – see the link for more details.

Learn Poetry Film Making

The course is only £75 and I’m not aware of anyone else offering this right now, so I’m glad they’re featuring it. It’s a real service to the community.

The submission guidelines are mostly sensible, though it’s too bad the maximum duration is so short (six minutes). My only other criticism of the site is the large sticky header, which reduces screen real estate significantly. Viewers not in the habit of expanding videos to full screen, or clicking F11 on a PC to push the website to full screen, are sure to be frustrated.

But these are minor quibbles. It’s great to be able welcome Poetry Film Live back to active duty. (We at Moving Poems know all about unannounced brief furloughs!) Go visit.

Call for entries: Film Poetry Competition from Poetry Film Live

Poetry Film Live, the UK-based online journal edited by Chaucer Cameron and Helen Dewbery, has just announced its first competition. It’s also on FilmFreeway:

The Film Poetry Competition is inviting submissions of film-poems. The film should contain all or part of a poem. The poem can be pre-existant, or created as part of the filmmaking process. The emphasis should be on a convincing poetic experience rather than simply technical excellence. We encourage poet-made films, or where the filmmaker has worked closely with the poet.

Film-poetry harmonises words, images and sound to create a new poetry experience … it’s more than spoken words, visual images and sound being in the same room together, it’s their ability to talk to one another that creates the magic in poetry film.

The Film Poetry Competition is in partnership with Poetry Film Live and Swindon Poetry Festival.

Awards & Prizes

Prizes will be awarded at Swindon Poetry Festival on 4th October, at a live screening of all shortlisted and winning films.

The following prizes will be awarded: £400 for the overall winner. Recognition will also be given in the following categories: Single author made film, Animation, Best Newcomer.

The deadline is July 12. You can submit either through the website or on FilmFreeway.

I let Chaucer and Helen talk me into being one of the judges for this, alongside Lucy English. And barring any problems with the UK Border Force or Brexit-related chaos, I plan to be in Swindon in October for the screening. So I hope to see some of you there! And I look forward to viewing your submissions.

Call for work: Poetry Film Live

Poetry Film Live, the magazine for all things related to poetry film and video, is open for submissions. Please send poetry films and videos via the submission page. Previously shown work is fine, but please send your best work!

We also publish articles and essays, and reviews of poetry films. If you wish us to consider these, send us a message about your work or submit it directly through the submission page.

Poetry Film Live began in 2016 and we have been honoured to publish work from established and emerging poetry filmmakers. To our contributors and readers — thank you for your continued support!

The Waiting Room by Cactus Chilly

An author-made videopoem that takes us inside the mind of someone with dementia, struggling to remember names and dreaming of the forest. It’s by Margate, UK-based artist Cactus Chilly, and appeared in Poetry Film Live back in December as part of a feature on her work.

Lucy English shares lessons from The Book of Hours poetry film project

The latest issue of Poetry Film Live includes an extremely interesting new paper by Lucy English, “WRITING POETRY FOR POETRY FILMS: an exploration of the use of spoken word poetry in poetry films“. It joins a growing section at the magazine of essential papers on poetry film and videopoetry by the likes of Sarah Tremlett, Tom Konyves, Fil Ieropoulos, and Susannah Ramsey. The paper is much too long to quote in its entirety, but here’s how it begins:

The Book of Hours is an online collaborative poetry film project, which forms the creative component of my PhD in digital writing. I am making forty eight poetry films to correspond to four different times of day for all the months of the year. This structure has been based on the Medieval Books of Hours, highly decorated and beautiful collections of prayers and readings which followed the Christian calendar. My book of hours is secular but is meditative in nature and intends to create a reflective mood. All the poetry films have been made in collaboration with international film makers. (English, 2016)

For the critical component of my Phd I chart the development of the project and the collaborative process. I also examine what has informed the writing of the poetry for The Book of Hours. Although the poetry exists in a poetry film form it also exists as printed text, a collection of poetry, which will be published by Burning Eye in 2018. In this article I have tried to unpick my understanding of the writing of the poetry, from initial inspirations, to its development as a cohesive collection, and what sources I have looked to for guidance.

English goes on to talk about her background in the spoken word poetry scene, how she’s had to adjust her writing style “to find a contemplative form of spoken word that can be translated to poetry film”, why she chose to pattern her work after Medieval books of hours, and the challenges of writing ecopoetry in modern Britain, among other topics. I found her mix of academic and personal discourse engaging and her arguments persuasive. Do go read… and then visit The Book of Hours to catch up on new additions.

Про форму / Concerning Form by Yurii Andrukhovych

This is Love Mykolaiv if you dare (Закохайся в Миколаїв, якщо насмілишся) by Ukrainian director Angie (Anzhela) Bogachenko, featuring actors Zoryana Tarasyuta and Denis Shvetsov and a poem by the prominent Ukrainian writer Yurii Andrukhovych called “Concerning Form”, with Roman Reznik’s English translation in the subtitles. Visit Poetry Film Live for the full text and background on the film (including bios of Bogachenko and Andrukhovych). Here’s the summary:

The film introduces viewers to the architecture and the ‘peculiarities’ of life in Mykolaiv. Angie Bogachenko says: “We love our city, but over the years it loses shape. How can it be corrected? Imagine that you found a magic music box, which is able to change any of the drawbacks.”

Insight: i.m. Michael Hartnett by Eleanor Hooker

A filmpoem by Dublin-based photographer and director George Hooker for a poem by his mother, Eleanor Hooker. Insight was featured at Poetry Film Live, which included thumbnail bios, the text of the poem, and these process notes from the author:

George made this filmpoem for me as a Mother’s Day gift in April this year. He read the poem and then created a story board, with second by second plan for each ‘scene’. He enlisted the help of his brother and father and his girlfriend, Martina Babisova, an actress. The film was made on one cartridge of super 8mm film with only in-camera edits and no post-production. As 8mm film does not have a sound facility, George recorded the sound separately. He entered the filmpoem into the Straight 8 competition, who arranged to have sound added to the film in studios in London. The film was selected by an international jury and was premiered on July 9th 2017 at the Picturehouse Central, London as part of Straight 8’s UK premieres. The poem was first published in The Irish Times newspaper and subsequently in my second poetry collection, A Tug of Blue.

L’ Inventario / The Inventory by Francesca Bonfatti


Venice-based photographer and video artist Francesca Bonfatti notes on Vimeo that

“The inventory” is inspired by a film from the repertory of mute cinema of 1917, inspired by the novel by Antonio Fogazzaro of 1881, in which a woman experiences a deep state of disturbance perhaps due to a personality duplication that is the cause of strange memories that emerge as ghosts of the past…

This is among the latest featured videos at Poetry Film Live. Go there for much more about Bonfatti and the multimedia project of which this is a part.

Dislocation by Susannah Ramsay

This filmpoem by Susannah Ramsay is featured in the latest issue of Poetry Film Live along with another of her films and a short essay, “Filmpoetry and Phenomenology.” According to her bio there, Ramsey’s

practice-based research, Experiencing the Filmpoem. A Phenomenological Exploration, argues that phenomenology, both as a philosophy and film theory can undergird our understanding of the filmpoem, a unique composition of artists’ moving image. Through the production and exhibition of her own filmpoetry, her work aims to explore how this medium can provide a sensorial embodied experience within either a site-specific gallery space or a traditional screening context. Susannah’s practice concerns the tradition of filming in close proximity to nature and explores how we can emotionally and philosophically connect to the landscape. As part of her RSPB artist residency she is creating an outdoor audiovisual installation, to be screened in the landscape of Loch Lomond nature reserve.

For more, visit Poetry Film Live.