In a conversation on the Poets & Writers Speakeasy forum, poet Wendy Babiak mentioned videos of poetry animations and short films, citing as a favourite “Forgetfulness” by Billy Collins (animation by Julian Grey of Head Gear).
That’s one of eleven animations of his poetry commissioned by the Sundance Channel’s Action Poetry Series, which includes: “The Best Cigarette” (David Vaio/Will Hyde/FAD); “Budapest” (Julian Grey/Head Gear); “The Country” (Brady Baltezor/Radium); “The Dead” (Juan Delcan/Spontaneous); “Hunger” (Samuel Christopher/FAD); “No Time” (Jeff Scher); “Now and Then” (Eun-Ha Paek/Milky Elephant); “Some Days” (Julian Grey/Head Gear); and “Today” (Little Fluffy Clouds/Curious), which is my favourite animation, although I think “Walking Across the Atlantic” (Mike Stolz/Manic) is my favourite of these poems.
Here’s are some other animations and short films based on poems:
- British Council/Bloodaxe Books has a series of animated poems; my favourite is Selma Hill’s “My Sister’s Poodle is Accused of Eating the Housekeeping Money.”
- “Flash Cards” by Rita Dove (animation by Arthur Greenwald Productions) – the simplicity of the drawing reminds me of the old school Sesame Street a loaf of bread, a container of milk, and a stick of butter.
- “Lullaby” by Anne Sexton (short film by Jeff Doud/RIOT).
- “Monologue At 3 AM” by Sylvia Plath (animation by Catherine Davenport)
- “Once Upon a Time” by Vishwajyoti Ghosh (animation by Nilratan Mazumdar)
- Somebody has done a series of videos with a hand puppet reading Charles Bukowski (it’s actually the author’s voice): “Grammar of Life,” “The Light of Jesus” and “Photo.” I can’t decide if these are dumb or funny.
- “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird” animation by Edward Picot, from the poem by Wallace Stevens. If you only look at one of his visualizations, go for either #1 (Among twenty snowy mountains) or #12 (The river is moving).
Finally, the Poetry Foundation, in association with docUWM at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, has a Poetry Everywhere series, which includes: “I started early…” by Emily Dickinson (Maria Vasilkovsky); “The Language” by Robert Creeley (Chad Edwards); “Mulberry Fields” by Lucille Clifton (Jason Walczyk); “Paradoxes and Oxymorons” by John Ashbery (Kate Raney); “Snowmen” by Agha Shahid Ali (Kyle Jenkins); “Some Words Inside of Words” by Richard Wilbur (Anna Wilson); “Those Winter Sundays” by Robert Hayden (Allison Alexander Westbrook IV); and “Tornado Child” by Kwame Dawes (Nicole Garrison).