Piotr Florczyk, a poet, translator, and friend, brought the Motion Poem project to my attention. While Motionpoems is not the originator of this viral format, Boss and co. are attempting to popularize the form, employing established talent to give the medium an initial dose of clout.
By combining speech, images, text, and sound, “motion poems” have the potential to show the poem’s complex characteristics. This mode of communicating a poem may slowly affect the way poems are written, with poets becoming more aware of their work’s clarity and organization, and less concerned with lineation, form, and the subtler tropes. If a change does occur it might be similar to the creeping evolution of the stage play to the screen play.
Resistance to this movement seems to reflect the most notable schism in poetry today, namely the one that exists between paper-poetry and spoken word poetry. “Traditional” paper-poets often find spoken word poetry to be a performance, a contest of personality and delivery which lacks substance and subtlety; spoken word poets find paper-poetry to be dead artifacts, a precious and elite riddle. (There are crass generalizations, I know.)
The trouble (and wonder) is that the poem is amphibious, is at home both in the mouth and on the dry page. Some days I feel that the poem is more a fish, other days it seems more a snake. But perhaps the poem is better described as an eel that spends most of its life moving between the water of the mouth and the land of the page.
Motion poems are not innately superior to the page or the recitation. They have the ability to obscure or reveal the poem, but what excites me most is that the movement seems to respond to a change in how much of the public prefers to experience creative works. Motion poems presume that poetry is durable and malleable, a fact which is easy to forget during the often fragile process of their creation.