Poetry Films are not illustrated poems, nor are they texts combined with moving images. They are autonomous pieces which unify the spoken or written language of poetry with the visual language of film. The synthesis between these two elements leads to associations, connotations and metaphors which a poem or film alone can not convey. A new form of ‘image-language’ is created which takes on new shapes due to the wide and ever increasing diversity of techniques. Poetry Films have always been a part of the tradition of experimental film, usually without being granted the attention they deserve.

This programme was compiled by William C. Wees, Professor at the McGill University in Montreal and author of several books on experimental film.


Bells of Atlantis, Ian Hugo (US, 1952, 10:00, 16 mm)
A dream journey with Ana’is Nin reading from her novella, “House of Incest.”

Travellers Palm, National Film Board of Canada (Canada, 1977, 3:00, 16 mm)
Intricate animation and optical printing accompany a poem by P.K. Page.

Poen, National Film Board of Canada (Canada, 1967, 5:00, 16 mm)
A surreal montage of images inspired by a passage from Leonard Cohen’s ‘Beautiful Losers’.

Sequels In Transfigured Time, Al Razutis (Canada, 1976, 13:00, 16 mm)
An homage to the magic of Georges Melies.

Waterworx, Rick Hancox (Cana-da, 1982, 6:00, 16 mm)
A poem by Wallace Stevens juxtaposed with mysteriously deserted public spaces.

Wonder, Marc Cato (US, 1996, 3:20, video)
The recreation of a childhood memory. Or was it a dream?

Gently Down the Stream, Su Friedrich (US, 1982, 15:00, 16 mm)
Lesbian desires, anxieties and fantasies from a diary of dreams.

Penumbra, Hillary Morgan (US, 1994, 12:00, 16 mm)
“Dream-time is a previous eternal mythical era, a time of the ancestors spe-aking, and being with us” (H. M.).



Screw: A Technical Love Poem, Margaret Doogan (US, c.1972, 4:00, video)
An animation film with funny and acerbic commen­tary on sex by poet Diane Wakowski.

High Kukus, James Broughton (US, 1973, 3:00, 16 mm)
Broughton’s playful haikus ac­company the image of a placid forest pond.

A Said Poem, National Film Board of Canada (Canada, 1977, 3:00, 16 mm)
“Found poetry” by J. R. Colombo and collage anima­tion by Veronica Soul.

Primi Too Taa, Ed Akerman & Colin Morton (Canada, 1986, 2:50, 16 mm)
Visual text and sound recreate a Dadaist poem by Kurt Schwitters.

Assassination Raga, Max Crosley (US, 1972, 13:00, video)
Beat poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s elegy for the Kennedy brothers, Martin Luther King, Jr. and other modern martyrs.

Kino Da!, Henry Hills (US, 1981, 4:00, 16 mm)
Jack Hirschman’s frenetic, fragmented rendition of a poem in the manner of the Russian Futurists.

Ghost Image, Al Razutis (Cana­da, 1979, 10:00, 16 mm)
Phrases by T.S. Eliot and Razutis juxtaposed with clips from classic ‘fantastic’ films.

Bombs and Prayers, Antero Alli (US, 1992, 5:30, video)
Special effects applied to found footage juxtaposed with an anguished, agnostic ‘prayer’.

Plutonium, Karoly Bardosh (US, 1982, 4:00, video)
Ann Wald­man’s witty poem on atomic radia­tion presented as a mock music video.

Utopian September, Kurt Heintz (US, 1991, 1:00, video)
A charis­matic poet performs for the camera near a Chicago viaduct.

Vogue with the War Dead, Kurt Heintz (US, 1992, 4:40, video)
Composed from a mixed media performance and the voice of Colonel Oliver North.

98.6 Degrees, F, Jack Reilly (US, 1996, 2:00, video)
A medita­tion on life and death in computer­animated words and images.

Kick That Habit Man!, Francois Miron (Canada, 1989, 3:00, video)
Visual-verbal permutations on a “cut-up” poem by Brion Gysin.

Undertaker, Rachel Libert (US, 1995, 5:40, video)
A powerful performance by Patricia Smith recreates the agony of an African­American mother arranging the funeral of her murdered son.

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