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Bob Holman & Margery Snyder

Fun with Poetry Cartoons

By January 30, 2008

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We’ve been having fun with moving poetry pictures since the very beginning of this site -- Bob Holman produced the United States of Poetry PBS series before becoming a Poetry Guide here, and our library of links to video poetry will give you hours of online viewing entertainment (provided you have a fast Internet connection). We’ve just discovered a new variation on poetry video to add to our library: Beau Blue’s Cruzio Cafe, where you’ll find a large collection of video-poems featuring animated avatars of the poets paired with their recorded voices. Big fun!


January 31, 2008 at 6:27 pm
(1) Ted R. says:

My “comment” are a few rhetorical questions. Do gimmicks make poetry? Are those involved in this cartoon approach using it to make their work palatable? Won’t discerning readers see thru this mask?

February 1, 2008 at 1:21 pm
(2) JJW says:

gimmick — noun — dishonest trick: a piece of trickery or manipulation intended to achieve a result dishonestly

“Do gimmicks make poetry? Are those involved in this cartoon approach using it to make their work palatable? Won’t discerning readers see thru this mask?” -Ted R.

What about this artistic expression is dishonest? That, for the most part, it ignores poetry as text on a page and reaches back to its oral traditions? Why does Ted R. consider that dishonest? Why should the audience be restricted to “discerning readers” rather than to ‘discerning lovers of poetry’? Or is it that Ted R. is a shill for Shelley and his view that poetry, to be real, must be somber and serious? Poetry must be bound to text and consumed by solemn ‘readers’ alone? That your definition of “palatable” Ted?

Myopia is its own punishment.


February 1, 2008 at 5:45 pm
(3) Robert Sward says:

Gimmick? I don’t think so. For myself, as contributor to Blue’s Cruzio Café, I’m aware of J.J.’s generous labor… 12 unpaid hours at the computer to produce one MINUTE of video, 360 hours to generate one broadcast quality 30 minute DVD. And the poems he devotes himself to, the work of others, have typically appeared in quality lit mags and in book form. They stand on their own. Why else would one dedicate oneself to poetry in this way? Hell, I remember hand setting a book of poetry, In the Clock of Reason, by William Stafford. That too was a labor of love. That too employed a particular form of technology, albeit old technology, a Cropper Platen foot operated letterpress. Why limit the palette of publication? Why not avatars, why not stylized faces? Why not digital representations of the authors and subjects? And, indeed, why not reach a wider audience, viewers of all ages, all backgrounds?

The man does this, BTW, from his home in Boulder Creek, CA, in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Look at those who have agreed to contribute, Robert Bly, F.D. Reeve, Mort Marcus, Tony Barnstone, David Alpaugh… And, animated or not, check ‘em out… most poems you see performed at Cruzio Café hold up to a rigorous line by line reading on the page. But, yes, they also work as performance pieces. –RS

March 25, 2008 at 1:33 pm
(4) David Alpaugh says:

A not so “rhetorical” question for Ted R.—one that Sir Toby asks Malvolio in
Twelfth Night: “Dost thou think, because thou art virtuous, there will be no more cakes and ale?”

T.S. Eliot called poetry “a superior amusement,” dropping the nine ladies into the fairgrounds to ride the merry-go-round, loop-de-loop, and roller coaster.

My online dictionary defines “animation” as “the state of being full of life and vigor” and that perfectly describes the doings at JJ Webb’s unapologetically entertaining website. Where animated readings are dismissed as “gimmicks” are not “discerning readers” best defined as “cultural snobs”?

No one’s stopping you from limiting your experience of poetry to a silent read in your study, Ted. But why align yourself with Jaques and Malvolio against Touchstone and Feste because others may be a mouse click away from enjoying the original and A-MUSING creativity at Beau Blue’s Cruzio Cafe?

David Alpaugh

March 25, 2008 at 4:12 pm
(5) c o mccauley says:

hey, ted! non-rhetorically, whatcha got against new and creative ways to enjoy poetry? get with it, man, there’s a lot of world out there!

c o mccauley

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