In Search of the Perfect Poetry Film

Any thoughts of sleeping on the night flight home from New York on 28th June 2008 were thwarted by the woman behind me playing computer games on my headrest. For a while I enviously watched the woman on my right who through sadness or exhaustion remained perfectly still, eyes closed, for the whole journey. To my left, my travel companion Chaucer Cameron was writing –

cool drop from blue through pins of cloud to concrete
where heat plays baseball between blocks
paint blisters burst from their burgundy coats.

I scanned my photos on the tiny screen of a Canon G5, they were all there: the landing, concrete, baseball, heat, peeling paint. 30,000 feet above sea level, with the lights dimmed, my passion for poetry film began.

I spent the next decade studying film and poetry. Transferring my photographic skills to film, I endlessly experimented with combining words, images and sound. I viewed poetry films from as far away as Australia, South Africa, Canada. I visited poetry film festivals in the UK, Germany, Athens and Ireland. I listened to experts as they made confident, knowledgeable and impressive statements of what poetry film should and shouldn’t be. But I was disappointed. I wasn’t seeing much of what I hoped for, what I knew could be. Sometimes the poetry wasn’t convincing. Or not much thought had been given to it by the filmmaker. Or the film was so brilliantly ‘filmic’ that the poem was lost. I saw combinations of film and writing – fine poetic artworks – but they weren’t what I was looking for. And so, I went in search of the perfect poetry film.

In Search of the Pefect Poetry Film is a 30 minute video essay. It was first shown at the Big Poetry Weekend in October 2021. More dates will be available in 2022, if you would like to show it at your event please get in touch.

Is there such a thing as the perfect poetry film?
If there is, what might it look like?
Is poetry film a genre of filmmaking or a literary form?
In this video essay I share what I’ve found during my
ten year search for the perfect poetry film.

The script and delivery are note perfect. The entire piece has a searching quality that resists easy answers or received ideas.

Finn Harvor

I find something vulnerable and relatable to humans speaking about something they love, the ideas become more richly valuable somehow than when simply read on the page.

Marie craven