~ video recorded readings ~

Interview with “How Pedestrian” curator Katherine Leyton

Nic S. at Voice Alpha interviews Katherine Leyton, who stops people on the street and gets them to read poems on camera for her site How Pedestrian.

The visual element of the project, of course, was the main idea. I wanted to bring poetry to people in pubs and streets and taxis around Toronto, capture it on video and post it online. However, the visual aspect of a poem itself is also very important, and I think to fully absorb a poem you need to actually read it; this is why I decided to post the work next to the video. I really wanted the viewer be able to read along.

One of the most surprising results of the project so far has been the overwhelmingly positive public response.

The enthusiasm with which pedestrians agree to read for me is astonishing. I would say that out of every ten people I ask to read a poem, nine say yes. When I started, I never expected a 90% response rate, which speaks of my own misperceptions about the way the Canadian public views poetry. People are willing and curious, they just might not be inspired to seek it out on their own – they need a push. Many of my readers want to discuss the poem or poet with me after they read, and almost all are fascinated by the project.

Read more.

Sharon Doubiago reading from My Father’s Love

A great example of an author-reading video made riveting not only by gripping material and a good reading but also by judicious editing and the inclusion of still photos. This really makes me want to read the memoir.

Hat-tip: the Women’s Poetry (WOMPO) listserv

Subtitles drive me mad!

Why put English subtitles on an English poetry video??

I run Viral Verse (a website like Moving Poems) which features video poetry. I regularly crawl the net for new (and old) work. For some reason I cannot figure out, poetry videos often have the verse both spoken and written. It’s horribly distracting and a total waste of the poet’s (or actor’s) voice. We can’t help but read when we see words on a screen, but having 2 voices in my head – the actor’s and mine – becomes irritating .

I’m at the point now where if the subtitles start I turn off the video. English movies don’t have English subtitles. Is poetry so bloody special that it has to be drummed into the viewer?

Here’s a link to Annie Clarkson’s read…

Here’s a link to Annie Clarkson’s reading:

I’ve read her chapbook, Winter Hands, and it’s beautiful. Her video reading interests me because she first talks about her writing in general, as well as the authors who have influenced her. As she reads, she stands next to an antique lamp with tassel fringe, in front of a wall painted deep red. The sound of dishes clinking in the background gives the reading an immediacy. The filming is good, because normally when a reading is recorded the poet stands on a stage in front of a mike.

I doubt I would ever have a chance to hear Annie read live, so this recording is almost as good as hearing her in person.