Six Video Poems

by Staff

The ideal video poem gives the reader, now a viewer, a new experience of poetry through sonic and visual layering. The effect is not unlike that of a music video—and given how the invention of that medium, with its unique point of access and presentation, brought a new audience to music, the video poem may be ushering a whole new demographic to poetry. Here are six video poems that have been made available to a wide audience on YouTube.

"Reticent Sonnet" by Anne Carson

"Sonnet of Addressing Oscar Wilde" by Anne Carson

"Pleasurable Complexity" by Thylias Moss

"Verde: the greening of electrons" by Thylias Moss

"My Entrepreneurial Spirit" by Aaron Fagan

"Naked Leaf Dissolve" by Aaron Fagan


Great Finds

Thanks for posting these. Much as I enjoy Carson, I'm inclined toward the treatment Moss gets -- but maybe that's just the eerie soundtrack. I'm a sucker for soundtracks. I'm shooting for something similar with my website of work poems -- -- but it doesn't really have the same production value. I guess I need to get a soundtrack.

Great Post

I agree, I think video poetry will bring new audiences to poetry. I try to approach video poems from a short film perspective. I've directed 3 different types of video poems and working on a 4th with another filmmaker, hopefully when this year is done I'll have enough of them done and will have learned enough to make one to submit to film festivals. I plan to host a video poetry film festival in Wilmington, NC in the next few years. I just would like to make other contacts first. If you would be interested, contact me via or my website

It's like electric guitar

Video poems, for the poet, are like plugging into an amp and having all these interesting effects at your disposal. The power of this array is palpable. Logically, it ought to do for "readers" what MTV did for music -- knock away a whole set of psychic obstacles to the word and image. In the past year I have created a gallery of vidpoems that are free to look at. It's been a remarkable period of growth for me. Check it out:

A new direction for poets

I really enjoyed both the video poems featured in the article (particularly Anne Carson's voiceovers) and the ones linked in the comments stream. The remarkable thing, to me, is how accessible and powerful the technology has become. Using only the programs already bundled on my laptop (particularly iMovie), royalty-free music found on the internet, and stock photography, I've been able to make videos for three of the poems from I WAS THE JUKEBOX (W. W. Norton, 2010). You can find them here: ...and I think we'll only be seeing more and more of these in the next few years. Cheers, Sandra Beasley in Washington, DC

Video Poem

I did mine a bit different - I did a tribute for Haiti called 'My Child' (but I did not narrate (I used text). and I used photos/music. But I really like the way they "talked". It was nice to hear the soothing voices.

This seems dated and odd....

And doesn't reflect much knowledge of the video poetry communtiy.
For instance, US Poet Laureate Billy Collins does vid poems.
There are several sites that really celebrate this stuff, and show beautiful, integral vid poems not crude walk-throughs like this.

Hell, take a look at some of mine...

Wish they'd get pet people like me to write this sort of thing.

I just read an article by Cory Doctorow about his early work, said: "That was way back when somebody thought it made since for print mags to try to tell people about the web."

Various approaches

Over the past month I've started playing with the concept of mixing poetry and video. Lots of questions come up. To what extent should the poet appear in the video? A mix of images with or without the poet? It there a role for music? If so what? What enhances and what distracts?

Here are several attempts, with several approaches. In some the audio is set too low, so you will probably have to crank up the speakers a bit. I'd appreciate feedback -- as I'm always a beginner:

Barbed Wire: a simple recording of a poem read at King's books in Tacoma WA with video from a point-and-shoot camera:

The Tree as Verb: audio from the same reading as above, but with images (my photos) as the visual component:

The Mouth of the Columbia: a more professional video and audio recording but of poet only with no added visuals:

Praising the Fish: Same source as above, but with some still images added.

Feeding, the whales of Hecate Strait: a combination of stills, video and seperate audio, with some back ground music. The audio level of this one definately needs to be increased.

Thanks for watching, thanks especially for commenting....

Video poem

Hi !

I start to experiment six months ago, to realize some video poems with my own texts. I used to read my poems, in small shows, sometimes with jazz musicians, so i buy a small tape-recorder and now my poems are on line.

It makes me thinking that it is a sort of "Art singulier"


Right now I'm trying to find the creative balance between poetry and video.
Mixing text, visuals and audio is a challenging task.  The audio has to be right.
I think I'm finally there in terms of presentations. Now it's a matter of trying to get out more creative ideas.
It's definitely a genre that's going to keep growing.
Here's something I worked on for a while you will enjoy.
It's called "Say Something Beautiful"