Tailspin by Nina Lewis


‘Tailspin’ is part of Poetry Renewed, a project set up by Elephant’s Footprint with support from Arts Council England.

Nina Lewis was part of that project:

I was commissioned to produce 10 animated film-poems about living with long term health issues.

I started creating animation in 2019, so a large proportion of time at the beginning of the project was spent reading and researching, watching a lot of very good animation. The next stage was to seek projects that had been created by one person, as opposed to a whole team. I had already started to write about this year of bad health, I had a few poems in mind at the start of the time-frame but knew that more would come. I used the knowledge of Elephant’s Footprint and Helen Dewbery to decide what technical equipment was necessary and I soon discovered that using iMovie on the iPad as I had done for previous animations was not going to create a defined enough product. I invested in a camera and tripod and spent months learning how to use it and filming footage. I will always be surprised by how time consuming animation is and the number of shots you need for such short works.

‘Tailspin was the final animation I completed during the project. The poem itself was written in the waiting room over several appointments. The film was created in 2019 but changed a lot, it stayed on my desktop with WIP (work in progress) right up to the last week. Even when I thought it was finished and had saved it and added end credit pages I suddenly decided to flip two of the shots around and I am glad I did.

Nina Lewis is a Midlands based poet who started animating in 2019 working with the Worcester Film Poetry Collective. She has two pamphlets Fragile Houses (2016) and Patience (2019) published by V. Press. She was Worcestershire Poet Laureate 2017-18 and an International Guest Poet at Perth Poetry Festival,  Australia.