~ The Book of Hours ~

News Round-Up: Pandemic Edition

“Why Poetry?” Video Podcast Special on Poetry Film with Lucy English


This is such an excellent look at the role of collaboration in poetry film-making. A very well-edited and satisfying program, focusing on Lucy English’s Book of Hours project, it ought to work well as an introduction to the genre for poets and filmmakers alike.

Ó Bhéal Poetry-Film Competition Open for Submissions

Guidelines here.

Weimar Poetry Film Award: Festival Postponed, Deadline Extended

Guidelines here.

FVPS Deadline Extended and The Symposium Postponed until Fall 2020

“The Film and Video Poetry Society will postpone our 3rd annual symposium; we are hopeful, and are committed to rescheduling for fall 2020. Submissions remain open and our deadline extended to August 3, 2020.” More here.

Newlyn PZ Poetry Film Competition Winners Announced

The 2020 Newlyn PZ Film Festival was cancelled, but we still know the winners of the poetry film competition thanks to a post at the increasingly indispensable Liberated Words website.

Cadence Video Poetry Festival, Other Film Festivals Move Online

Rather than cancel entirely, the Cadence Video Poetry Festival made the choice of screening films online in five screenings on 15-19 April. A number of other film festivals are opting to screen films online for a few days as well. It’s a shame that so many film festivals bar submissions of films that are freely available online. Otherwise it might be possible for Cadence and others to post all competition films to the web on a permanent basis, and people with dodgier internet connections (including myself) would have an easier time watching them. If the pandemic makes meat-space festivals impossible for the next couple of years, as seems possible, some festivals might end up doing a 180 and requiring all submissions to be available on the web. That would certainly shake things up!

Visible Poetry Project Films All Online

The Visible Poetry Project is one web-first, festival-like thing that wasn’t hurt by the pandemic. A film went up each day in April, and you can watch them all on their website.

New Book on Videopoetry by Valerie LeBlanc and Daniel H. Dugas

Books on or about videopoetry are a rarity, and this one is available for free as a PDF, with a print version due out later this year. Here’s Sarah Tremlett’s mini review. It’s cool to be able to read about the making of a film and then click a live link to watch it. I’ll be interested to see whether the print edition includes QR codes allowing readers with mobile phones to watch the films as they read.

Online “Festival of Hope” Features Videopoetry

This is a cool festival. And it looks as if the films may remain live for a while.

Corona! Shut Down? Open Call and Ongoing Release of Videos

New Media 2020 Corona Festival banner

It’s not just for poetry videos, but this is well worth checking out — and submitting to. As they say, “Corona isn’t the plague, and not all infected people are gonna be dying. Probably, the crisis is a wake-up call – to rethink and change!?”

The Book of Hours is complete in web form and published in tree-flesh media

The Book of Hours coverI’ve been remiss in mentioning that Lucy English’s unique Book of Hours, an online calendar of poetry films made in collaboration with video artists and filmmakers from around the world, is at last complete — and worth many hours of exploration. Not only that, but there’s a printed version of the texts now out from Burning Eye Books, a terrific UK publisher specializing in spoken word poets. Many of the most effective poems in the book emerged during the process of collaboration, making this a unique milestone in the history of filmpoem innovation comparable in stature to the poetry films of Tony Harrison.

To whet your appetite further, there’s a new review of the book by poet and novelist Deborah Harvey over at Poetry Film Live.

It’s an ingenious idea – a calendar of poems that re-imagine the illustrated psalter of mediaeval literature for a secular, 21st century readership/audience. Lucy is supported in this endeavour by her extensive knowledge of the both fields, coupled with a poetic voice that is especially well suited to the demands of poetry film.

For all that there are mentions of stained glass, doom paintings, sun dials and psalmicly panting sheep, the subject-matter of the poems is resolutely secular. Churches are places to be visited in a spirit of curiosity rather than devotion, saints are grey and made of lead, and no miracles happen at wells that are simply oozy patches in stony holes. Similarly, the lives encapsulated in the poems are not ones of monastic contemplation. The poems accommodate a sizeable cast of friends, ex-lovers, family members, former inhabitants of holiday cottages, personifications of the seasons, and animals, and include arrivals from and departures for destinations far beyond an anchorite’s cell.

And yet the sacred is here, in the poet’s tender attention to moments snagged in the memory, rendering them dream-like, and magnified by their lifting up as an offering to the reader. This is the poetry of non sequiturs, missed opportunities, small losses that loom large, the lives we don’t lead […]

Read the rest. And if you see an announcement of a screening of the project in your area, don’t miss it!

Poetry films on the refugee crisis to be screened at North Cornwall Book Festival

For those able to get to St Endelion on October 4th, this sounds like a great event.


Event 2
Thursday 4th October, 7.30pm, St Endellion Hall
Admission £6 (Free to accompanying carers)

Uprooted tersely describes the situation of the subjects of this evening of poetry films. Poetry filmmaker and writer, Sarah Tremlett and performance poet and novelist, Lucy English are Liberated Words. They’ll screen powerful and varied short poetry films from their Home From Home project, exploring the effects of war in the Middle East and the refugee crisis, as well as interpretations of home for those arriving as immigrants in a strange country. Between films, Lucy will perform poems from The Book of Hours.

If you’re not sure just what a poetry film might look like, you can watch some of the Liberated Words catalogue of films here.

You can find out more about Sarah’s work here, and about Lucy’s work here.

Liberated Words CIC www.liberatedwords.com was founded in 2012 by poetry filmmaker and arts writer Sarah Tremlett (www.sarahtremlett.com) and performance poet and novelist Lucy English (Reader in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University). Poetry films are short films combining poetry (spoken and/or written with the moving image and music, and Lucy and Sarah’s focus is to curate and screen films from their community workshops alongside top international poetry filmmakers. Workshops include working with: school children (English, Media and Dance), dementia patients, and teenagers with autism (where they were recognised by Bath Council for raising awareness about autism, particularly for the parents and carers involved).

Their current project-in-progress Home from Home which will take place in 2019, centres on urban and rural groups facing homelessness, whether refugees or those from a variety of disadvantaged backgrounds.  It offers the opportunity to use poetry film workshops and a one-year screening programme as a means of expression and learning, while creating a revealing approach to consciousness-raising for the general public. Films screened on this special festival evening have been selected by Sarah from the Liberated Words and Poem Film archives, or by courtesy of the artists. There will be an opportunity for discussion after the screening.

Click through to book a ticket.

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.

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.

Update on The Book of Hours project; more collaborators sought

My PhD is now half way through! Last week I passed the half way assessment and I am on course to finish by 2018. There are now nineteen films for The Book of Hours and my target is 48 films in total.

Four new ones were uploaded this week, made by Janet Lees, Carolyn Richardson, Maciej Piatek and Claire Ewbank. Please have a look at the site and see how it is progressing! I am now experimenting with voices other than mine and innovative approaches. Janet’s film used a ‘mix’ of five of my poems from the Poetry Storehouse.

Loki continues to develop the site and its final appearance will be more elaborate. For now we are gaining content and making sure the films play smoothly.

Seven more are in production, to be made by Shane Vaughan, Katia Visconglesi, Lori Ersolmaz, David Richardson, Eduardo Yague, Sarah Tremlett and Kathryn Darnell. Hopefully these will be finished by the end of year.

So far ‘Postcard From my Future Self’ was screened at Visible Verse. ‘Shop’ was selected for Lisbon. ‘Aubade’ is due to be screened in Athens and ‘What is Love’ was voted poetry film of the month!!!! I am delighted that these films are finding new audiences!!! Sarah Tremlett is going to interview me for her forthcoming book on poetry film and I will discuss the challenges of creating such a large curated collection.

I am looking for more collaborators to make more films and I would also like to hear about other curated collections of more than twenty films.