V is for Video Poem

This is a photograph of a deep pool in the Upp...
Image by flicker: via Flickr

Dave Bonta, from Tyrone Pennsylvania publishes an excellent blog/website featuring what he considers to be the best video poems from around the web.  Moving Poems aims to publish “…one every weekday, most weeks.”

“What’s a video poem?”you may well ask.  In 1988 I made an art video, as it was called in those days; a video to accompany my swimming poems.  I filmed a competitive swimmer swimming butterfly, as well as freestyle,  looped some of the footage and set it all to music by Alan Stivel, then voiced my best swimming poems over that.

When the video was screened at Saw Gallery, in Ottawa, a representative from the Canada Council remarked how poetic the video was, even without the poems.  I guess that made Aquavision a video poem worthy of inclusion on Moving Poems, distinct from I Could Have Been a Banker which is made up of still images, so quite obviously not a moving poem, but none the less, in the genre of video poetry.  As an artist and a poet, I do prefer the moving image and feel it is more appropriately called a video poem, whereas a poem set to still images is just that!  Though I did try to make the still images in I Could Have Been a Banker move, I am a beginner with this sort of thing and was limited by both my inexperience in the genre and iFilm.

Inexperience?! And I made my first one in 1988!  Well, I got distracted with raising money to pay the rent, and although in 1993 (or thereabouts) I applied to Canada Council for funding to make a video poem in the rain forests of Vancouver Island, I wasn’t so lucky to get that grant and without a proper video co-op in Victoria, B.C. where I was living at the time, and no money for equipment, I morphed into a textile artist, working with scraps picked up off the floor in my profitable hat-making studio and/or begged from fabric shops.

Meanwhile, video poetry evolved into a wonderful art genre – without any further contributions from me!  Moving Poetry just ran a competition asking filmmakers to set Howie Good’s poem Fable to video. I’m very impressed with both the winning finalists and the speed of the judging. The competition closed on April 22nd and the winners were posted on the site on the 25th.  Good videos they are, too.   Check them out and while you’re there, have a good snoop round the site.  Dave Bonta does choose some remarkable moving poems.

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