Jules Taylor, Poetry in Motion (2017)

Another great time at T Tauri Movie Camp! This year I got to teach Visual Poetry and worked with my co-teacher Kameron Lunon and 8 fun and thoughtful young artists ages 8-16.


When the students arrived, I knew Hannah and Alex from previous T Tauri classes, but everyone else was new to me, as I was to them. Both Hannah and Alex expressed excitement about poetry, as did Lennox and Brownyn, whom I had just met in the lobby. But, when Jodie, Eric and Cole got there, I thought maybe poetry was not their thing. Well, chalk THAT thought up to another lesson in assumptions, because it was not true at all! One of the very initial things we did was have each person say the first thing they think of when they think of poetry. The answers were: feeling, emotion, Shakespeare, Edgar Allen Poe, deep meaning…! I knew immediately I had misjudged the situation and these young people were already in touch with what poetry is. I was impressed. By the time the two days were over everyone had created deep, philosophical and clever poetry, and had been brave and empathetic with their team. That’s what poetry can do.


We only had two days, and I had an ambitious project in mind: create 3 micro-short films based on the poetry the students created. The first poem they wrote was an acronym of their names. It was very open to them to create a sentence, or a word for each letter, based on something they wanted to say about themselves. After writing the poems, they tore letters out of magazines to spell their names, and then created a collage to accompany it. Next, Kameron took lots of different shots of the collages to edit for our first filmed piece.


After we shot all of that, we started working on our next poem about PLACE. I asked them to write about their favorite place. This was to be shot in front of a green screen. They wrote that afternoon before class was over, and I asked them to think about it overnight, so that they could edit the next morning if they wanted to. In the meantime, Kameron spent his evening finding different options for the green screen based on each place written about. When we met the second morning, Kameron showed us all the images he had grabbed and we took the time to look at several options until everyone was satisfied that the green screen image would work with their poems. It is so much fun and a wonderful learning experience to shoot on a green screen. The students all took turns doing the different jobs on set like slateboard and camera, and Kameron was excellent at explaining different aspects of this process, like shot framing and lighting.


That afternoon, we learned about Hiaku and everyone wrote a haiku. We talked about 1950s Beatniks and spoken word and the very cool coffeehouse audience members of the period. Then we staged a Beatnik-style spoken word club, as each poet performed for the group, to rounds of snapping applause.


It is always amazing how much can get achieved in such a short amount of time in camp. And, once it has all been edited, especially by the creative and ambitious editors that work with T Tauri like Kameron, the finished product is so impressive. We had such a great experience in this camp, and I think the students found their philosophical and creative selves.

Movie Camp Vids Library