Unto my books so good to turn
Far ends of tired days;
It half endears the abstinence,
And pain is missed in praise.
As flavors cheer retarded guests
With banquetings to be,
So spices stimulate the time
Till my small library.
It may be wilderness without,
Far feet of failing men,
But holiday excludes the night,
And it is bells within.
I thank these kinsmen of the shelf;
Their countenances bland
Enamour in prospective,
And satisfy, obtained.
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).