Poetry Innovations, from Sculpture to Animation

We’ve been looking at some innovative ways to present poetry to a modern reader, or listener. Here are a few things I found this evening that I thought you’d enjoy.

There is a library in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, a few hours from my home that is combining poetry with sculpture. Take a look at this article from last month and some of the exciting projects that are being planned. This calls for a day trip!

Have you ever gone looking on YouTube to see what kids are coming up with as Poetry Projects for their English classes?

Next time you are at your local bookstore look for magnetic poetry. We have it on our refrigerator here in our kitchen, and my sons, family, and guests seem to enjoy cooking up new creations on the fridge door. And since the boys are getting older I don’t have to worry so much about checking to see what some of my more daring friends have composed before my sons come over. Sigh. I also love this idea of putting the process on video:

There are some great poetry animations out there. If you’ve got an artistic bent beyond word craft, why not give it a try? How about the amazing voice of Ken Nordine, put to video with word animation?

Or the way that same man has made a life out of fusing the spoken word to Jazz? You may or may not think of this as a poem, but maybe it’ll give you an idea and inspire you to create something yourself.

Billy Collins voiced a series of his poems a while back that were released on DVD. I found nine of them online, and they are excellently done.

And I also love the combination of old movies and poetry as we see here, in another poem by Collins:

What is going on with poetry in your area? Have you found anything online that just tickled you enough to share it with friends or family, you know those others who are less obsessed with verse than we are? Share some of your discoveries here with us, would you? I’d be delighted and honored if you did.

21 Comments Add yours

  1. ManicDdaily says:

    So cool! I have dabbled in some very primitive animations, but they don’t really use words, just elephants! k.


    1. sonofwalt says:

      Elephants are good. Elephants with words? Even better. 😉


  2. Deborah Avila says:

    I thoroughly appreciate your exposing new poetry, the power of words. I struggle with the themes, the lack of values, morals, tact~ I’ll stick to classic sentiments written in precision. FYI Today is Whitman’s bday!
    Passage, immediate passage! the blood burns in my veins!
    Away, O soul! hoist instantly the anchor!
    Out the hawser–haul out–shake out every sail!
    Have we not stood here like trees in the ground long enough?
    Have we not groveled here long enough eating and drinking like mere brutes?
    Have we not darkened and dazed ourselves with books long enough?
    Sail forth–steer for the deep waters only,
    Reckless, O soul, exploring, I with thee, and thou with me,
    For we are bound where mariner has not dared to go,
    And we will risk the ship, ourselves and all.
    –Walt Whitman


    1. sonofwalt says:

      Well, I hope I haven’t shared a lot of immoral, tactless stuff here. But then, I also realize that some of such is in the eye of the beholder. Thank you for the reminder! I had forgotten the birthday of my namesake. With less than a half hour left (in his Brooklyn time), I am working on a birthday post. 🙂


  3. Jeremy Nathan Marks says:

    I love this. The Billy Collins reading “Man In Space” was exquisite. Insightful (of course) and hilarious! Thank you for sharing. I will keep my eyes open for developments ’round here too.


    1. sonofwalt says:

      Wonderful! I am so glad you enjoyed it.


    2. Jeremy Nathan Marks says:

      I really appreciate what you are doing with poetry by exploring the possibilities in the form. I also really value bringing the humor forward. I feel like playing words always invites laughter.


    3. sonofwalt says:

      You know, my all time favorite, wise old man, may he rest in peace, William Stafford once said something along these lines: You can tell early on if someone is capable of becoming a great poet, more by their desire to play with words and language, than by their feeling like they have something important to say.

      I think this is supported elsewhere when he said that being a poet doesn’t require creative genius so much as a willingness, and aptitude to tap into something larger that is already going on in the world.

      Sounds a tad mystical maybe, but I feel that he is right.


    4. Jeremy Nathan Marks says:

      I agree. I think a person can become a better poet by leaving the thought of self-importance behind.

      I think the whole idea of muses is that we become possessed by the wider world; we don’t possess it.


    5. sonofwalt says:

      Well said, Jeremy.


  4. angela says:

    I don’t have a link, but there is one site on Tumblr that uses spine titles of owned books to compose short poems…thought about doing that (take a picture and post on blog).

    Not sure what your thoughts are on avant-garde movements, but I become fascinated with the likes of Kenny Goldsmith and conceptualism.
    I stumbled upon this last night and I am reading with much interest, even if I’m not certain if I agree. http://htmlgiant.com/author/adjameson/

    Finally, while I was trying to figure out where this link ^^^ was I found this via Poetry.org…I may just give it a go for fun ~ http://megmclain.com/2012/05/29/the-online-terrorist-keywords-poetry-contest/

    Curious what you think of the ‘non-creative’ school of poetry…


    1. sonofwalt says:

      I will check out those links in just a bit. I think I have seen the book spine thing. I actually found that interesting. I also shocked myself by mentally composing a slam poetry performance piece while on my walk today. I don’t do slam poetry, but I’m fascinated by it. By non-creative, you mean “found poetry?” Like you I am intrigued I think. Any avenue that helps foster love of language cannot be a bad road to walk, can it?


  5. angela says:

    ps…I just read your comment on blog after I posted this…nicest compliment, thank you~


    1. sonofwalt says:

      I meant it. You are so welcome.


  6. Alex Fyffe says:

    I was looking for a new Amano Tadashi poem to translate on my blog, and I happened upon an animated video on YouTube that shows the events of the poem as the words appear on the screen. It’s very clever and well-done with good background music to go along with it. I think this is a good example of how people can make poetry interesting for those who may not ordinarily read it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vb0f6DvQ1FE


  7. I LOVE the video of “This cake is my prisoner”! Magnetic poetry is a special favorite of mine. When I was teaching, I had word magnets stuck to the metal frame of my window out to a hallway, and I loved it when students passing by or waiting around would come over and play. I’d type out the poems they made (this was the old days) and post them on the window so that the poems could be disassembled to make new ones.

    And the videos of “Man in Space” and Ken Nordine’s “Green” (wow–what a voice indeed!) are marvelous. Thanks for these treats!


    1. sonofwalt says:

      Yay! I’m so glad you enjoyed them. Yes, sometimes I take photos of the poems my boys, and my friends create on my fridge. I should start posting them here. I too loved “Green,” and the visual choices to go with Collins’s “Man in Space” were just perfect, weren’t they? 🙂


  8. Reblogged this on The Dad Poet and commented:

    It’s about time for me to swing shift through the rest of the Easter weekend. Since I won’t see you until I ressurect on the other side (of said weekend; let’s not be so literal and dramatic, shall we?), I am doing the unthinkable and reblogging one of my own posts, from nearly two years ago. Since it is National Poetry Month–international now it seems, I think posts like this that explore ways that poems can speak to new audiences are worth the returned attention. Many of you are new readers since then, and I did promise I’d bring back a few goodies from the past. Enjoy these clips!


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