Poetry for people who may not like poetry

People are still unaccustomed to reading long articles online, so it makes sense that the Internet would be an ideal medium for poetry. Most poems are short or shortish, and the Web is very effective at reaching small, niche audiences. At bcactionpoet.org you can see what happens when poetry and the digital age are combined with high style. The result is a perfect accomodation for today’s attention deficit syndrome.

The site features Billy Collins, probably America’s most famous good poet, reading 11 of his own poems, each set to short, beautiful animated films by different artists. Originally produced as a collaboration between the J. Walter Thompson ad agency and the Sundance Channel, the films are a series of poems-as-music-videos that run from the wry to the surprisingly moving — or both, as with the 35-second No Time, Collins’s vision of his parents rising from their graves illustrated by filmmaker Jeff Scher’s collage-y cascade of autumnal, dreamlike drawings.

Collins’s poetry, notable for its directness and stoic wisdom — check out The Best Cigarette — has a pithiness that makes it ideal for brief videos. But the concept could work just as well for short poems by other authors. Bcactionpoet.org is forging a new direction for poetry — and keeping it relevant in the 21st century.

“>WATCH No Time

“>WATCH The Best Cigarette

“>VISIT Billy Collins Action Poetry

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