The Varieties of Poetic Experience

A while ago I began to solicit videos of friends and associates reading/performing/interpreting poems from my collection, In This Alone Impulse, in exchange for a copy of said collection. A dozen or so videos into this project, I’m amazed and impressed by the range of attitude, voice and dimension the videos have exhibited. Each of these videos represents not just a reading, but a unique response to poetry, and in that respect I think they’re quite valuable and interesting art-ifacts.

Ariel Basom took this with his cell phone, put the result through a filter, and came up with what seems to be a kind of eerie, Lynchian singles ad:

Matthew Simmons snuggles with his cat Emmett at the end of his video, and I can’t help but feel a vicarious comfort:

Maxfield Chandler lends his sad eyes to this reading, and the abstract background appears thought-like:

Mel Bosworth’s calm during his reading seems unsettling, as if he’s expressing some kind of condolence:

And compare Mel’s “Fatness” to Eric Leuschner’s, which robs the poem of any sentimental chords, switching sadness for bathos:

Paula Bomer had her reading recorded by a hand-held camera, and the result is a strange outtake from COPS, complete with a villain in fur to read the ransom note:

James J. Williams III thought for some reason that Philip Seymore Hoffman’s drag queen from Flawless ought to weigh in:

Ryan W. Bradley adds atmospherics to his reading, and obscures his face in a way that suggests testimony or alien abduction:

Daniel Coughlin describes his acrobatic video as “A metaphoric (re)birth”:

BL Pawelek gives a gravelly, weary voice to a harsh chiaroscuro, forefronting a chosen image from the poem:

Tan-ya Gerrodette uses the shoreline in an entirely different way for her video, and her voice-over adds an interesting anxiety:

I love the ambient insect and bird noises that give Greg Olear’s reading a kind of cozy, homespun feeling:

Zac Whittenburg defamiliarizes body parts to create an abstract composition that evokes the broken utility of the poem’s language:

AD Jameson throws himself at a playfully counterintuitive grift on his poem’s central image:

Stephen Johnson talked his yoga class into the service of his video, bringing community to the poem’s intimate dialog:

Todd Zuniga makes fun of me a little, which certainly touches on one of the central elements of the collection as a whole:

As these continue to come in (a few more are expected this coming week), I’ve come to see them as a kind of communion between myself and the reader, a shared experience in a way, that instead of reducing the work, expands it beyond what I alone could have managed. You can see these poems and more at my YouTube Channel.

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12 thoughts on “The Varieties of Poetic Experience

  1. Shya, thanks a lot for prodding me to participate. It’s great to see all the videos assembled this way. (I have something of a thing for long posts with multiple embedded YouTube videos!) Looking forward to even more videos. Cheers, Adam

  2. this is such a great project, it’s great to see so many different people/voices/videos working off of one writer’s vision and each one making something different out of it!

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