The Poetry Storehouse has an excellent idea - to do for poetry what has worked so well for software, by making some of it "open source". They are gathering text and audio recordings of poetry, released by the author under a Creative Commons license.
This license allows others to freely re-use the poems in their own creative works, provided they are not doing so for commercial gain, and provided that they credit the poet somewhere in the piece. There are already excellent online resources for finding other Creative Commons and public domain media, such as the Prelinger Archives for historic video, Deviantart for original still images, and the recently-launched Free Music Archive. An online storehouse of good poetry available to incorporate freely is the missing piece to support a growing community of avid film-poem creators.
Curator Nic Sebastian writes, "poems delivered in multiple creative ways online have new leases on life and are reaching an ever-widening audience." Indeed, the film-poem genre is an exciting way for poetry to reach new audiences in our increasingly visually-oriented and short-attention-span culture. Yet the intent of film-poetry, like the intent of poetry itself, is different than that of cute kitten videos online--it is to reach the viewer with a complex and essentially human experience, an artistic experience.
Doubly exciting is that it is also a collaborative process, bringing together artists from different disciplines to showcase what they do best. A number of festivals have also sprung up to celebrate the film-poem genre, in places like Dunbar, Manchester, Antwerp, and Berlin. If you are a poet, filmmaker, musician, visual artist, or just fancy trying your hand at re-mixing others' work in this exciting new genre, why not pull up a poem and see where it takes you?
I look forward to seeing your creations and re-creations online and in the screening rooms.