Motionpoems broadens the audience for poetry by turning great contemporary poems into short films for big-screen and online distribution.
In 2008, animator/producer Angella Kassube animated one of Todd Boss’s poems. The results were so compelling that Boss and Kassube began introducing other poets to other video artists. A year later, a public screening at Open Book in Minneapolis drew a standing-room-only crowd of 150+ to see 12 pieces they dubbed Motionpoems… and a new hybrid form was born. Since then, motionpoems have appeared in mainstream media, blogs, YouTube, international film festivals, art galleries, and on our Vimeo channel at www.vimeo.com/motionpoems.
Todd and Angella Tell the Motionpoems Story
Video artists work from completed poems. Poets are not required to work directly with video artists. Video artists are given free rein to be their own creative directors on their projects. Todd and Angella are available to advise poets and video artists, and to connect the project with additional creative talent as needed. A small stipend rewards video artists who complete projects on deadline and whose work is selected for screening.
SCREENING and DISTRIBUTION
About a dozen poems annually are selected for public screening at our annual festival and premiere. In 2009, 2010, and 2011, premieres at Open Book in Minneapolis were sponsored by the Minnesota Center for Book Arts. Premieres, hosted by Boss and Kassube, encourage audiences to dialogue with artists. In coming years, regional premieres in additional markets, including New York, will be added to our calendar. Motionpoems are made available online after the premiere so that they can be shared and reprinted freely. Motionpoems also facilitates entry of completed motionpoems for film festivals internationally. Talks are underway with regional and national broadcasters about adding a broadcast piece to the mix.
“See for yourself, but be warned: [a motionpoem] is so striking and cinematic … you can’t just watch it once. Most people replay [it] several times because each viewing pulls them deeper into the poem.”
—Christian Science Monitor
“Of all the new ways people are trying to disseminate the art form of poetry, I think Motionpoems is one of the most original and the one to appeal most to lovers of poetry, particularly to younger people, and that’s important: among them are the poets of the future, and among them are readers of the future.”
—Thomas Lux, poet
“Today I had a new agency client here. He was talking to me about doing a typography animation for him. Showed him my Lux motionpoem and he was blown away, completely sold on what I could do for his project. I got the job!”
—a Motionpoems animator
“Wow. Excellent. I love the poem and the graphics are magical. Beautiful.”
—YouTube viewer comment
“As part of this fall’s creative writing course, each student had to make a motionpoem. We screened them last night. They are fabulous! A few of them blew my mind.”
—Jami Macarty, teacher
“BRILLIANT! Exactly the atmosphere I was hoping for. Perfect. The music is right, too. It would have been so easy to overdo it, both the reading and the music. I love the way it turned out. Thank you so much… THIS IS FUN!”
—Dag Straumsvåg, poet
“I rather love the freedoms the filmmaker took with the poem, the images …that are not literally in the poem but open up a new interpretive experience, an addition to the poem rather than merely an illustration of it. Some of my friends don’t like these liberties, but to me it’s the open exchange of such collaborations that makes them satisfying. My poem becomes a beginning and not an end.”
—David Mason, poet
“Motionpoems is a visionary endeavor made actual, an ongoing project that has become cafe, guest house, gallery, and experimental stage where words and images can meet, converse, barn-raise, feast, and dance.”
—Jane Hirshfield, poet
“I just have to support what I see as a significant synergy in the arts—what you’re doing seems exciting, logical, natural, and necessary. I liked what Angella said about poems being “perfect scripts”—and that makes sense to me. I’ve always believed that the arts should cross-pollinate. Inspiration leads to inspiration.
—L. S. Klatt, poet