Poetry & Film: statement by Avi Dabach
I’m often asked by viewers or colleagues to define what poetry film is. For a long time, I would define it by explaining what it isn’t (it’s not a film about poetry, nor poets, etc.). Then I heard Bob Holman, an American poet, saying that there is no such thing as poetry film, but only different kinds of poetry: there is the spoken or performed poetry—the most ancient kind. The second type is written poetry, and even though it can be read aloud in public, it is more a text than a show.
The third kind is the filmed poem, or since the HD era, the Video Poem—a type of visual poetry. The basis for most video poems is written poetry, but for good video poems, the written words are only an inspiration. The words become part of a new poem created by the director. The video has a strong and complex relationship with the written poem, but it is no longer the same piece of art.
One of the best video poems “Nach grauen Tagen” by Ralf Schmerberg (select #9), takes the words and transforms them into a visual and emotional situation, and creates a new visual poem with its own meaning and beauty.
Avi Dabach, Born 1972, Jerusalem. Directed a dozen of video poems as well as documentaries and experimental films.