WHAT AN EXCITING time to read, and write, poetry.
If you’re among those who consider poetry boring, unapproachable, complex and difficult to understand, then you’ve read only boring, unapproachable, complex and difficult to understand poems.
Yes, those types of poems exist.
But today, oh, today, poetry is pushing beyond simply words printed in anthologies to highly-public and engaging venues.
At least three Minnesota communities—St. Paul (Everyday Poems for City Sidewalk), Mankato (WordWalk) and now Northfield (Sidewalk Poetry Contest)—have embraced sidewalk poetry, poems imprinted upon sidewalks.
In Fergus Falls, the Fergus Area College Foundation sponsors a seasonal poetry contest and posts the winning poem on four Burma Shave style billboards. I won the spring Roadside Poetry Project competition. (Click here to read a story published today in The Marshall Independent about my writing and my Roadside Poetry poem.)
In Hackensack, as part of its annual summer Northwoods Art Festival and Book Fair, the Northwoods Art Council has invited Minnesota poets to submit poems for display. Attendees then read and vote for their favorite poems.
But the latest news in the poetry world comes from St. Paul poet Todd Boss and Minneapolis art director/animator/designer Angella Kassube, who have created “motionpoems.” The pair defines these poems as “a hybrid of poetry and film.”
In short, they bring poems to life via animation. From what I’ve seen and heard online, this approach works, making poetry more accessible, understandable and, dare I say, exciting. But don’t take my word for it. Click here and view several motionpoems, including my favorite, Todd Boss’ THE GOD OF OUR FARM HAD BLADES.
The duo started this project two years ago, creating more than 20 poems. Now they are expanding, collaborating with New York publisher Scribner’s respected annual Best American Poetry anthology, 2011 volume, to produce 12 – 15 motionpoems. They’ll work with writers ranging from Pulitzer Prize winners to emerging writers. Eventually, the motionpoems will be accessible, for free, online.
I see great promise in these new approaches to poetry that reach beyond printed poems and poetry readings. I see the promise for reaching a wider, more receptive audience.
WHAT’S YOUR TAKE on sidewalk or billboard poetry and/or motionpoems? Would you be more likely to read these types of poems than traditionally-published poetry?
© Copyright 2011 Audrey Kletscher Helbling
Roadside Poetry Project photo courtesy of Paul Carney