19 April 2009

Video poetry, part 2: New Zealand Poets on Video

It isn't that I actually need another project - I always have lots on the go - too much probably. But late last year I got interested in making little films. I guess I'd kind of been interested in it for a while, but I was spurred particularly by two things. The first was the poems I've been writing that are inspired by films and film-making, and the second was reading a biography of Kubrick (the frustrating one that ends before he's died, because he hadn't died yet when it was published).

I started wondering what it would be like to look at things through a viewfinder, to frame the world in a narrower way. I started to think about the parallels between metaphor in poetry and the metaphor in film.

Then I started thinking about how it would be cool to video poets reading their poems as a kind of resource and as an archive for the future. A few years ago Jan Kemp and Jack Ross organised the mammoth Aotearoa New Zealand Poetry Sound Archive project - basically all the poets in New Zealand were recorded for this. I don't plan to embark on something so big, but I'd like to video poets around about the place reading some of their work, and perhaps do some interviews with them too.

I'm also interested in what I (and some other people) call video poems, which are kind of like music videos for poems. My first video, 'Calling you home', which I blogged about recently, is one of those.

I'll make these available on the net, and I thought it would be cool to pull together what else is out there that other people have done. So, to this end, I've set up a YouTube group for videos of NZ poets and/or poems: http://www.youtube.com/group/NZPoetsonvideo - please join and contribute if you're doing this sort of thing.

I've also started a directory of NZ poets on video on the net: http://nzpoetsonvideo.wordpress.com/. This is very much in progress - in fact not really started, but I think it will be a good resource. I've found a few more relevant videos on YouTube, and some on the NZ Electronic Poetry Centre website that I haven't added yet, but if you know of any, or you've made some, either add them to the YouTube group or email the links to nzpoetsonvideoATyahoo.co.nz.


billy said...

Seems like a cool idea.

harvestbird said...

Thanks for this! I've wanted to do something along these lines for some time now (which is to say, poetise visually and digitally) but have pottered and procrastinated: herein lies motivation!

Helen Rickerby said...

Thanks Billy. And thanks Harvestbird - once you kind of know what you're doing, it's quite easy - though doing a short course helped, especially with the editing. I do hope you'll have a go, and I hope you'll share your end result!

Meliors Simms said...

I'm working on two video poems (though until I read your blog I didn't know what to call them), which should be ready by early June. I'll be sure and join the group and let you know for the directory. Loved your calling you home video by the way.

Helen Rickerby said...

Thanks Meliors! I'm glad you enjoyed it. I'm keen to see your video poems when you're done. I don't think I invented the term, I'm sure I came across it elsewhere - oh look, it's official: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Video_poetry. I first came across it in Australia in 2001, at the Subverse Poetry Festival, when I saw 'Chinese Cucumbers' - a video of a poem by US slam poet Patricia Smith. You can view it here: http://video.e-poets.net/playvideo-Cucumbers.ram, or read about it here: http://heintz.e-poets.net/Fcucumbers.html, if you're interested. It was pretty intense and exciting - I'd never seen anything like it before.