Thursday, March 26, 2009

StAnza 2009 - 'In Person' And 'Out Of His Head'

I went to the Saturday evening screening of the In Person highlights. It’s a book and DVD produced by Bloodaxe featuring the work of 30 poets. The DVD has over 6 hours of footage, but the big screen version lasts about an hour. Most of the poets are featured reading their work in their own homes. Neil Astley introduced the movie and gave us a few anecdotes on the process of filming.

I liked the big screen. I’m less sure I’d watch the DVD for any length of time in my home although I suppose I could watch a poem or two whenever I felt like it. The main impact on me was in remembering the range of poets Bloodaxe publishes from throughout the UK and all over the world. I loved some of the poems and appreciated the eclecticism. I wonder whether poets reading over short films interpreting their work (or poems interpreting contemporary silent shorts) might be an intriguing, although no doubt more expensive, use of the DVD format for the future.

From cinema to theatre: on the Sunday afternoon, I watched Kenneth Price’s one-man play, Out of his Head, on the life of W.S. Graham. For the first few minutes, I thought it was going to be overacted and annoying, but then I settled into it. In fact, it was very well done and gave an interesting overview of Graham’s life. It featured several poems, read theatrically – interesting, as it’s rare to see poems being read like that in real life, which is no doubt a good thing. However, this worked in the context of the play where the poems were woven into the biographical content.

1 comment:

Matt Merritt said...

I definitely recommend the book, and I think the key thing is that Bloodaxe have done it at a price where you can ignore the DVDs entirely if you want to and you've still got a good value anthology. I tend to read a few poems (some of which I was already familiar with), and use the DVDs if I'm struggling with any of them.