Some Days -- Billy Collins Animated Poetry

Is poetry on YouTube a good thing?

On the one hand, this animated short is very stylized and well done--there are at least six animated Billy Collins poems posted by the same user on YouTube. And anything medium that makes poetry more accessible to the masses is a good thing. But is poetry meant to be animated? Maybe I'm old fashioned, but I like being in a room somewhere letting the words and images float to me, not having a third-party interpretation explaining the poem to me. .

I'm sure the answer lies somewhere in the middle. So what do you think about animated poetry?


Nic Sebastian said…
I imagine it to be seomthing like the phenomenon of book-to-film adaptations -- some work for some people, others don't. It's always interesting to see how people visualize a text that you have visualized in a different way. I think this series is well done. Cheers, Nic
Dana said…
Well, it makes me want to listen to my Billy Collins CD.

The video is cool, and overall I'd say I like it. But it's almost too much for me. The words are enough ~ I don't really need the images. It's brain overload. And, I think the images create some meanings the author didn't intend. But still, it's kinda fun.

How's that for a noncommittal answer?
twitches said…
I don't even like listening to poetry, quite honestly. I only like reading it because I must see the words/lines. So, to each his own, I suppose. I've gone to reading where people incorporated visuals to good effect. This to me is just another form of that. Still not something I'd seek out on my own, though.
Kamsin said…
I kind of like it. The animation is well done, and as I don't have a very visual imagination it is good to see how someone who has envisions the poem. I guess partly it'll depend on whether you like animation. Also as I didn't know the poem beforehand that probably makes a difference. If it was something I knew before perhaps I'd be less open to someone else's interpretation. Maybe just the child in me likes poetry with illustrations, as children's poetry or books generally often has.
paris parfait said…
I don't like animated poetry, nor do I much like listening to it - unless it's the poet reading it, in a wonderful speaking voice. I prefer to read it on the page, as it was written. (And good news about the squirrel capture and release).
G said…
I also have a bit of a problem with it. I like the subjective experience of poetry, bringing my own thoughts and imagination to the words. The animation is someone else's interpretation, and I feel I miss too much of what I might have gotten without it. I've seen two of these, but I haven't gotten around to reading Billy Collins yet and I feel a kind of cheated out of my own thoughts! (silly, I know)

But I guess I can understand its appeal to people with less desire to read poetry on their own. Maybe a short film would change that for them. Who knows? It is well done.
Hi there,

I wandered t your blog recently and have been enjoying it.

Thanks for posting this. I'm with Dana in saying that the images were a little too much with the words. I found myself trying to concentrate on whether the words were exact with the images--man in the brown suit, women in the blue dress, motionless, etc.

However, with that said, now that I have an image, I don't think I'll ever forget the colors in the poem and what they were wearing, or the image of "shoulders in the clouds," as I had never been able to imagine that.

I think the creator's care in working his film to the poem is what's important and that it highlights poetry, maybe even turns someone on to it.

A friend did a film poem to one of my poems years ago, except the poem came up with the images, word by word, so you had to read the poem.

I'm interested in all ways people play with poetry, so even though all of this wasn't the best for my ear/eye, I still think it's an intriguing thing to do and I'd be interested in seeing more.

All the best,
Kelli (R. A.)
Becca said…
The school teacher in me says, "what a great way to get kids interested in poetry!" while the purist poetry lover says, "Egad!"

I rather enjoyed this one, though, and I think it added a new dimension to the poem.

I wonder what Billy Collins thinks??
jillypoet said…
I listened to this three times. The first I interpreted the poem along with the video. The second, I tried to separate the two, and the third I closed my eyes and listened. I liked hearing it without seeing, I have to say. However, I think it is good to have poetry out there, accesible to anyone surfing the net, you know?
January said…
There are more positives than negatives to animating poetry and broadcasting it on YouTube. Many more nonpoets will get to see it, maybe even find out more about Collins and poetry in general.

Admittedly, if someone wanted to collaborate with me on mixing my poetry with another medium, I'd be thrilled.

The images and colors do stay with you. I especially liked
"Forgetfulness" on YouTube.

Also, I know I have a typo or two in the post, but if I go to correct it, I'll lose the video link altogether. It's one of those quirky Blogger things, I guess.

Thanks for the comments!
suzykitchen said…
Billy Collins likes the poetry animations, not as literal interpretations of the poems but as a medium that gets poetry out there to more people who might not see it and develop an interest in it otherwise.

My opinion is similar; the animations work like little poetry commercials, entertaining, but not meant to be an end but rather a means to an end. And that end is a person opening a book and seeing what's on the page, reading it to him or herself, or perhaps aloud to another.

I don't enjoy hearing poems read as much as I enjoy reading them myself, unless it is a one-on-one "reading" or if the reader is Billy Collins. His wit and knowledge and his soft, warm voice make his readings so enjoyable. Another odd fact is that until I heard him read his poems in person, I didn't recognize the humor in them. I took them on a different, serious level-- and they worked. They work both ways.
skip said…
What a pleasure seeing this (and the other Billy Collins poems). Thanks! (This is his third I've come upon).

My enjoyment of Billy Collins is such that I resist picking up his books. I know my inclination will be to gorge. Instead, I enjoy waiting to see new treats appear in my email alerts.

I see poetry not as related to format but to a capturing of experience. The means of communication varies, as do you and I as readers/viewers.

My point, I suppose, is that good poetry is not a matter of form, but of effect: it feeds the human spirit.

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