Animated Poetry: A Starting Point
Ah, the art of poetry. The hobby of sappy teens lost in romance and old men sitting around with their fine teas. Well actually, no. Poetry can be about anything, for anyone, and comes in all sorts of shapes and forms. Some poems carry powerful messages and others are just for fun. Take a look at the lyrics of songs, you’ll see what I mean.
Poetry can be performed in a plethora of ways, including by song, stage performance, and even in animation. Animated poetry carries extra appeal, as it takes well written work and gives it a visual representation to go with it. The visual aspect helps the audience get immersed in the poem and brings out the emotional expression the writer is trying to portray. Animation does this well, as it can work with many different art forms and aesthetics. For anyone looking to the art of animated poetry, here’s a starting list of great poems with their visual interpretations. To help experience the poems, there is the option of turning closed captions on so the words can be visible. These poems have been picked for their diversity, to show what kinds of poems are out there to enjoy.
1. Storm By Tim Minchin
Storm is a break from the emotional tidal wave poetry can drag us into and instead gives us an Australian comedian with a point or two to make. This hilarious poem represents all of us that are fed up with the annoying hipsters of society. Sick of hearing about zodiac signs and medicine conspiracies? Ever want to go on a rant about the lack of logic in some of your friends beliefs? Well Minchin does it for you with some light jazz and plenty of bluntness. Storm is a great example of how poetry can be about anything, even hipsters in London and those fed up with them, plus you get to listen to Minchin’s accent.
2. To This Day Project By Shane Koyczan
Now there is a lot of great work by Shane Koyczan. He is an overall talented writer and his work is often emotional, inspirational, and is in collaboration with other artists. You might want to brace yourself for this one, it might hit you in the feels. This anti-bullying video is absolutely beautiful in so many ways. From the animation to the music to the poem itself this video reminds us all what it’s like to go through life as the underdog and why we need to fight against the issue of bullying many still face today. The reason why this poem has “project” in its title is because it is part of an anti-bullying movement Koyczan has started. This video is a collaboration from many different people with many talents that went into it. Koyczan has a couple of other animated poems including Troll and Shoulders, so if you like this then there’s more from his corner.
3. The Dead By Billy Collins
This is simply a nice and short poem with some animation to accompany it. Nothing too fancy. It’s a good choice if you’re looking for something light to watch, plus Collins is one of those poets you’ll find everywhere so if you’re trying to get into poetry in general he’s a name to know. The Dead is about how the spirits of the dead watch the living, in a not so creepy kind of way. Unlike the rest on this list, this poem isn’t narrated by Collins himself but the producer does have a whole YouTube channel of Collins’ work animated and ready to be watched if you’re interested in more of his work.
4. When Love Arrives By Sarah Kay And Phil Kaye
Another light and sweet poem, this time about the realizations of relationships. Both comedic and lighthearted, When Love Arrives is like a breath of fresh air after all the heavy poetry that tugs at our heart-strings. It’s also a reminder of how fun poetry can be. Although this video is more of a Typography rather than a full animated video, it’s still visually appealing and adds to the enjoyment of the poem. When Love Arrives is less of a sappy love poem and more about the life lessons learned from relationships and accepting both life and people for who they are. This poem is from a live performance from Kay and Kaye, with the audience to accompany your own reactions.
5. There’s a Man in the Woods By Jacob Streilein
Want some suspense? There’s a Man in the Woods offers a great build up of thrill as the poem progresses and the plot thickens. This poem is about how a man lost his job and the bitterness he carries with him. If you think being an elementary school teacher is easy, think again. This video and poem go hand-in-hand as the visuals show you what lines of the poem really means by showing, not telling what is happening while keeping you on you’re toes. There’s a Man in the Woods shows how fast life can turn around and how far a little lie can go. There is a YouTube channel full of other work by students in the CalArts animation program if you’re interested in what else they have to show.
There are plenty of other poems out there. Both pbs.org and movingpoems.com have a library of animated poems to delve into. If there are any other videos like these that should be mentioned say so in the comments along with your reactions to the videos! Be sure to check out some of the other work by these poets as well.
What do you think? Leave a comment.