Lucy English and I curated a selection of Poetry Films for the Environment for LYRA 2020, March 14 in Bristol, where the theme was part of the festival this year. We had an international screening with films from: Mary McDonald, Penn Kemp; Ian Gibbins; Helen Dewbery, Suzannah Evans; Helen Moore, Howard Vause; Jutta Pryor, Lucy English; Janet Lees; Fiona Tin Wei Lam, Tisha Deb Pillai; Valerie LeBlanc, Daniel Dugas; Meriel Lland; Sarah Tremlett. Please go to www.liberatedwords.com to find the screening booklet; a recorded panel discussion (Mark Smalley of Extinction Rebellion, ecopoetry filmmaker Meriel Lland and myself did not attend due to the onset of the virus) with Helen Moore, Caleb Parkin and Lucy English; and currently essays by Meriel Lland and Lucy English, with others to follow by Caleb and Helen. We will be showcasing more films on our shared ecosystem in the future.
After hearing this really interesting discussion, I would like to retitle our collection of Poetry Films ‘for the Environment’ as ‘Poetry Films for a Shared Ecosystem’. As Helen Moore noted the very term environment puts man at the centre and everything else seemingly ‘out there’ in a binary of culture and nature. So many vital points raised, particularly in relation to artistic practice, and how a poem for a poetry film, rather than the page, may need a different structural approach – more space – to allow for the other elements of moving image and supportive soundscape. Ultimately, they agreed that ‘shifts in perception’ and/or empowering others, or simply gaining knowledge (as a maker or viewer) were all outcomes that they hoped might result from watching these films, which highlight a planet in crisis.