It’s often said that text written for poetry film needs to leave space for the visuals. However, that’s just part of the story. Poems that are quite dense and detailed can also work well. And both, should leave room for the viewers imagination.
A longer, detailed poem may have an emphasis on the voice. A shorter poem may have more detailed visuals. Both of these need to be approached after asking, what do you hope to achieve?
Take a look at They Are There But I Am Not by Taiwanese poet and filmmaker Ye Mimi. The poetry film illustrates a series of moments to approach the concept of time. Notice the pared down text and the detailed visuals.
They Are There But I Am Not ©YeMiMi, used with thanks.
Compare Ye Mimi’s work to the next poetry film, Echoes by Jaimz Asmundson. In Echoes, the poet has used abstract visuals and a fairly detailed poem that recalls a premonitory dream and fragmented memories, from the period leading up to the death of the filmmaker’s mother.
Echoes ©Jaimz Asmundson, used with thanks.
The abstracted visuals in Echoes works well with the more detailed text. The pared down text in They Are There But I Am Not, leaves space for the detailed imagary. And both leave space for the viewer to put themselves in the poetry films.