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Keywords: heather haley, visible verse, visible verse 2014, videopoetry, video poems, poetry films, interview, wax, poetry, art, canada's
Interview with Heather Haley
by Kirk Ramdath
Heather Haley is a poet, performer, musician, author, and the Artistic Director of Visible
Verse Festival 2014, to be held in Vancouver, British Columbia on October 18, 2014.
Visible Verse is "North America's sustaining venue for the presentation of new and
artistically significant videopoetry and film."
Kirk Ramdath: You have experience creating in a variety of genres. What is it about
the video poem format in particular that captured your attention and inspired you
decide to organize a festival for that medium?
Heather Haley: The genre, a hybrid, combines two of my passions, poetry and the
moving image. I was first exposed to the idea of videopoetry while residing in Los
Angeles by my friend and associate Doug Knott who hosted a cable program called
PTV, Poetry Television. His videopoems are still some of my favourites. By providing
a platform for poets and artists working in the genre, I hoped to raise its profile, as well
as provide a venue for audiences to enjoy their efforts.
KR: Your preference for videopoetry is for film mixed with spoken word, rather than
with text that appears on screen. Why do you favour the spoken word?
HH: In my experience the greatest challenge of this hybrid genre is fusing voice and
vision, aligning ear with eye. Some poets like to see words on the screen. The effect
can be exquisite but I find that film/video doesn’t accommodate text well. We are busy
listening to the poem with our eyes, assimilating it through our ears. I prefer spoken
word. To me, voice is the critical element, medium and venue secondary considerations.
Unlike a music video—the inevitable and ubiquitous comparison—a videopoem stars
the poem rather than the poet, the voice seen as well as heard.
KR: Can you mention three artist's whose work demonstrates the qualities you admire
about video poems?
HH: I admire Gary Barwin's sublime, kooky and elegant verse and the way he adapts it
to video. Swoon Bildos is an extraordinary artist and a prolific producer of exceptional
videopoetry. He's a sound designer and it's apparent in his work that fuses sound and
vision in a most singular way. We screened Tommy Becker a few years ago. His dark,
absurdist vision makes me laugh. (See videos by these artists on the next page.)
Find out more:
Heather Haley's website.
Visible Verse 2014 website.
Next: Videopoem selection by Heather Haley.
and specified artists.
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