The Poetics of Poetry Film (Book)

Film Poetry, Videopoetry, Lyric Voice, Reflection

The first book of its kind, it classifies the different types of poetry film, shedding light on the fast-growing genre and citing works from poetry filmmakers worldwide. A ground-breaking industry bible for anyone interested in poetry, digital media, filmmaking, art and creative writing as well as poetry filmmakers. 60 col., 20 b/w illus.


Launch interview with Dr Rebecca Kosick

Sarah Tremlett interview at VideoBardo Videopoetry Festival


Set to generate and influence discussions in the field for years to come, this is an encyclopaedic work on the ever-evolving genre of poetry film. It will set the benchmark for all subsequent works on the subject, being the first book of its kind. 

Poetry films are a genre of short film, usually combining the three main elements: the poem as verbal message; the moving film image and diegetic sounds; and additional non-diegetic sounds or music, which create a soundscape. This book examines the formal characteristics of the poetic in poetry film, film poetry and video poetry, particularly in relation to lyric voice and time.

Provides an introduction to the emergence and history of poetry film in a global context, defining and debating terms both philosophically and materially. Examines the formal characteristics of the poetic in poetry film, particularly in relation to lyric voice and time. Includes interviews, analysis and a rigorous and thorough investigation of the poetry film from its origins to the present. This is a very important, groundbreaking work on film poetry. The ideas discussed here are of great importance, and the diversity and breadth of the volume is especially impressive and very useful. This book brings together in one place crucial ideas and information for practitioners, students and academics, and is clearly and accessibly written. 

Including over 40 contributors and showcasing the work of an international array of practitioners, this will be an industry bible for anyone interested in poetry, digital media, filmmaking, art and creative writing, as well as poetry filmmakers.  It explores working practices, processes of collaboration and the mechanisms which make these possible. It also reveals the network of festivals disseminating and theorizing poetry film and presents a compelling bibliography.

This is the most incisive and complete analysis of filmic poetry to date. It is poised to become a major text in the field.

Essential reading for academics teaching poetry filmmaking, moving image, film, media and media poetry, writing and art. Undergraduate and postgraduate students in those fields. Great potential for textbook adoption.

Also relevant to poets, filmmakers, visual artists, graphic artists and theorists, filmmakers, screenwriters, art historians, philosophers, cultural commentators, arts journalists.

Sarah Tremlett (MPhil, FRSA, SWIP) is a commissioned poetry filmmaker, writer, artist, arts journalist, and theorist. She is the cofounder of the poetry film organization and online platform Liberated Words CIC, judging and curating international screenings and events.




    Valerie LeBlanc

Preface xix

Introduction: Poetry, Song, Philosophy – The Combined Lyric Aesthetic 



1. Terminology across Time 

2. Realization and Structure 

3. Voice and Narrative 

4. Time and Mind 

5. Constructing Dynamic Spatio- Temporality 

6. Tonality, Light and Colour 

7. Sound Design 

8. Poet on Screen: Persona and Subjectivity 



9. Contemporary Pioneers 

    George Aguilar 

    Enzo Minarelli 

    Enzo Minarelli 

    Tom Konyves 

    Javier Robledo 

    Peter Todd 

    Valerie LeBlanc and Daniel H. Dugas 

    Stuart Pound and Rosemary Norman 

    Rosemary Norman 

    Stuart Pound 

    Heather Haley 

    Thomas Zandegiacomo del Bel 

    Zata Banks 

    Gabrielė Labanauskaitė 

    Dave Bonta 

    Alastair Cook 

    Marc Neys 

10. Making 

    Chaucer Cameron 

    Marie Craven 

    Lucy English

    Ian Gibbins

    Jane Glennie

    Suzie Hanna

    Kate Jessop

    Adeena Karasick 

    Martha McCollough 

    Matt Mullins

    Adele Myers

    Charles Olsen

    Caleb Parkin and Helmie Stil

    Helmie Stil

    Caleb Parkin

    Maciej Piatek

    Dave Richardson

    Othniel Smith

    Howard Vause

    Susanne Wiegner

11. Poetry Film and Videopoetry in Portugal and Spain: Alive and Thriving

    Charles Olsen

    Alexandre Braga

    Manuel Vilarinho

    Eduardo Yagüe

    Tarha Erena

    Alejandro Céspedes

    Celia Parra

    Jordan T. Caylor

    Belén Gache

    Santiago Parres

    Lola López- Cózar

    Agustín Fernández Mallo

    David Argüelles Redondo

    Ángel Guinda and Sándor M. Salas

12. Experimental Poetry in Argentina from the 1960s to the 1990s: Political Voice and Prefiguring the Turn to Digital Literature and Video Poetry

    Marisol Bellusci

13. Liberated Words: Developing a Poetry Film Festival and Workshops

    Butterflies Haven Workshop

        Helen Moore

        Howard Vause



14. Collections

    John D. Scott

15. Text- on- Screen

16. Video Haiku and Video Haiga

    Katia Viscogliosi and Francis Magnenot

    Judy Kendall

17. A Documentary Approach to Poetry Film

18. Dance and Movement

    Helen Mort

19. The Ecopoetry Film

    Meriel Lland

    Janet Lees

    Janet Lees

    Helen Moore and Howard Vause

    Helen Moore


Examples of Leading Poetry Film Festivals


Artists and Authors Index

'Sarah Tremlett’s The Poetics of Poetry Film is a unique and extraordinary contribution to this vibrant field of expression. Her landmark volume elegantly articulates the conceptual foundations, language, grammar, and vocabulary of poetry film and its cognate forms; delivers a concise and incisive history of the genre, and introduces students, practitioners and scholars to the field’s contemporary pioneers, methods of making, and varied narrative forms. Laden with rich and provocative illustration and example, The Poetics of Poetry Film functions as Bible, Guide to the Perplexed, and indispensable reference, fluidly integrating interviews with and notes by forty contributors into a coherent and beautifully structured progression. This book—a wonder in its variety, complexity, and ambition—is a superb read.'

Marc Zegans, poet, poetry film and immersive theatre artist

'The sentence on the cover says it all for me. Hard to believe it’s been more than 50 years since Sympathies of War, my first videopoem. I’m thankful that a book like this, the first of its kind, of its sheer scope, finally exists and humbled that I had a part to play in the flowering of a new genre of poetry. No one better than the indefatigable doyenne of videopoems, my good friend Sarah Tremlett to make it come true.'

Tom Konyves, videopoet and theorist

'This is an encyclopaedic, groundbreaking manuscript on an area of film production that definitely needs more attention, and stands to be the book to surpass for quite some time; the author knows her territory intimately ... It is the most incisive and complete analysis of filmic poetry to date; it’s very diverse, includes women, minorities and transgender filmmakers, and Tremlett's descriptions of the films, and the intent of the filmmaker poets, and is both accessible and clearly written. This is a sharp, up to the minute manuscript on the bleeding edge of film criticism. ... A book exploding with dazzling, evocative images and trenchant analysis.'

Gwendolyn Audrey Foster, Willa Cather Professor of English & Film Studies, University of Nebraska–Lincoln

'This is a gem of a book.  It brings together in one place crucial ideas and information for practitioner and academic.  I wish very much that it had been available when I found my way into videopoetry ... Considering the scope of the subject matter, what has been achieved here in terms of clarifying and anatomizing is remarkable.'

Dr Meriel Lland, writer, photographer and film-artist

‘I loved reading this book. The Poetics of Poetry Film is an amazing resource for scholars and everyone interested in contemporary poetry.’

Dr Rebecca Kosick, Senior Lecturer in Translation and co-director of the Bristol Poetry Institute in the School of Modern Languages, University of Bristol

'An exhaustive study of Video Poetry by the remarkable Sarah Tremlett and over 40 contributors! I was fortunate enough to have read with Sarah at the Bury Text Festival and found her work to be amazing. She also appears in an issue of Ekleksographia edited by Judith Skillman. I recognize some names among the pioneers of the movement, including the Polypoet Enzo Minarelli. Congrats on this fantastic book! This is really wonderful!'

Jesse Glass, American poet, artist, folklorist and Professor of American Literature at Meikai University, Japan.
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