What is Video Poetry?

Video poetry is like the poetry world’s answer to music videos. Much like with music videos, the images and scenes that are presented in video poetry serve to either narrate, inform, or create a tension with the words of the poems that are being featured. Also, as with music videos, video poetry may include video or clips of video in which the poet recites all of part of the poem that is featured in the video. As more people have access to the technology that is required to make videos, video art that includes poetry becomes more common.

Sometimes a poet will have a video of her poetry made in order to promote her work in general or to promote a particular event, such as a book release party or an events. Also, there are times when a poet will create videos for a number of poems that were all published in the same book in order to promote the publication of the book. Much like with music videos, video poetry is often used as a marketing tool, but the final product may be elevated to the level of fine art.

Performance poetry may be incorporated into video poetry. A simple recording of performance poetry, however, is not necessarily considered to be video poetry in and of itself. There may be exceptions to this rule in the cases where the performance is recorded in a particularly artful manner. Video poetry that incorporates performance poetry would usually include sections of images other than the performance itself.

Video poetry does not necessarily include words within or juxtaposed with the images. In fact, no words may be present at all within a piece of video poetry. In other cases, some or all of the words in the featured poems may be present on the screen or in cuts between images. Like with most other kinds of visual recordings, the key aspects of these kinds of videos are images and sound, not necessarily text. In fact, many recordings are intended to distance the poem that is being featured from its presence on the page. These videos often work to investigate the kind of life and meaning that a poem can have when it is completely divorced from its life in ink and represented entirely through sounds and corresponding — or, in some cases, dissonant — images.