About This Project


This blog is an ongoing account of an independent study with professor and filmmaker Zack Godshall and myself, which intends to discover the meaning and principals of the concept and genre of “poetry-film.” The term “irreducible” is meant to refer to a certain invaluable aspect of art, poetry, film—the idea that good art, at its core, possesses something entirely unique, irreducible, something that refuses to be compromised by intrusion. It serves as a reminder that there is only so much we can “know,” in a way of knowing, about a work of art—that after our analyzing, gazing, partitioning, what remains is simply that: a work of art.

What I intend to study throughout the duration of this course is the trajectory, progress, “tradition” of poetry film through the last century and the status of the genre today—a somewhat challenging order, since resources (read theory) on the (fairly new) genre are scarce or hard to find. We will be looking at, however, the book Eyes Upside Down: Visionary Filmmakers & the Heritage of Emerson by P. Adams Sitney, recommended by my friend Dustin Zemel—and I will be posting responses to it and other articles and texts that we discover along the way. Please feel free to recommend any other pertinent or particularly instructive texts you find—particularly recent articles and particularly those that refer to the genre of poetry-film itself with a critical eye.

As I said in my first post on The Cabinet of Dr. Caligarialthough I will try to at least acknowledge the context of the films in the course of my study—and the value of the films as artworks on a whole—I imagine I will need to ultimately observe and note this context (and merit) only in passing, in order to remain focused on the purpose of this course.

The forum on Moving Poems' website seems to do a pretty good job of keeping up-to-date on the latest poetry-film contests. Their links page also contains a far more inclusive list of websites, analysis, online periodicals, etc, than what I am providing here. The following are sources of contemporary and archival poetry films, contests, and information on the subject that I have found to be of particular interest.  

       The Volta: Medium 
       Moving Poems 
       RabbitLight Movies 
       Film Poem
       Short of the Week 
       Zebra Film Fest
Here is an extremely abbreviated and also weirdly inclusive list of some of the poetry-filmmakers we hope to look at throughout the course of the film—and just, generally, who we like to look at. Again, please feel free to recommend:

       Kate Greenstreet
       Catherine Owen
       Forrest Gander
       Joshua Marie Wilkenson
       Rusty Morrison
       Young-Hae Chang 
       Maya Deren
       Vito Acconci
       Matthey Barney
       Steve Roggenbuck
       Kate Durbin
       Jean-Luc Godard

Thanks to the artists and readers involved.


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