Febuary 2022
Internet Poetry
Gif Format


"Ars Poetica", or "The Art of Poetry", is a poem written by Horace c. 19 BC, in which he advises poets on the art of writing poetry and drama. This is a modern interpretation though the lens of internet or GIF based poetry.

About the Piece

Tom Konyves (@tomkonyves on Twitter) is a Canadian poet, video producer, educator, and leader in the field of videopoetry. Konyves is a pioneer in the genre of videopoetry and an established artist with 6 publicly available videopoems, 9 books, 24 essays authored by himself, and a body of collected works stretching back to 1977. Konyves is most recognized for his association with The Vehicule Poets – a period distinguished by Dadaist/ Surrealist/ experimental writings, performance works, and “videopoems” throughout the mid-seventies. In 1978, Konyves coined the term "videopoetry" to describe his multimedia work and is considered to be one of the original pioneers of the form. His videopoems exhibit the artist's self-described formalist concern in the integration of text, image, and sound, to explore the poet's role in a technology-oriented world. In his 2011 manifesto titled, “VIDEOPOETRY: A MANIFESTO” Konyves defines the genre of videopoetry and shares his vision for the form. Konyves also explores the formal concerns regarding the integration of image, text, and sound, to ultimately explore the poet's role and intentionality in creating poetry in such a technologically centered world.

delves deeply into the intricacies of the individuals’ perception, traditional ideas of reading and viewing media, and past experiences with poetry, to define what elements of written poetry can be carried to the video format. Discussing the constraints, Konyves categorizes videopoetry into five categories, Kinetic Text, Sound Text, Visual Text, Performance, and Cin(e) Poetry, each with its own definition and genre constraints. He breaks down the key differences between video, film, and poetry when discussing format, as well as highlighting the differences in narrative structure, rhythm, use of juxtaposition, and overall experience. In discussing narrative, Konyves touches on the non-narrative ideas of the anti-narrative and ante-narratives in engaging in nonlinear storytelling. 

What does that mean for this work?

It is in Konyves’ description of poetic juxtaposition, specifically the process of creating distant realities, through the balancing of text and image combinations that I carried into my Ars Poetica piece. While not a set of videos, rather looping gifs, Konyves’ principles, and ideas were instrumental in the creation of the piece. In creating a set of four poems, themselves about creating poems, how could I not turn back to “VIDEOPOETRY: A MANIFESTO”. Text can be seen directly taken from page 5 of the manifesto and inserted in poem no.3–luma-keyed into the shadows of the astrologer. Altered text from Konvyes’ writing on poetic juxtaposition can be seen juxtaposing themselves in poem no.2.  

The set of four poems functions loosely as a how-to guide for creating an internet poem. In creating the poems I used after effects, found footage from, and “VIDEOPOETRY: A MANIFESTO'' to create the body of work. I chose the Bodoni typeface due to its rich history and heightened popularity at the time the footage was created. To break down the intentionality is in part to strip away the potential interpretations of the work, however, I hope that after I describe the initial or primary “meaning” they are ambiguous enough that they can still be read in a myriad of ways. The set begins with poem no.1, the simple instruction to put yourself into the work. Part of the poet must go into the poem, not necessarily in the autobiographical, but there should be a personal connection. As a result, part of the poem will then be found in the poet, the two interlinked. Poem no.2 explores and directs the reader/future poet in the art of poetic juxtaposition. Create the distant reality, utilize the ebb and flow of the narrative and non-narrative moment, and temporal capabilities of the medium to allow the viewer to interpret as “simultaneity made manifest''. Poem no.3 addresses the internalization of these ideas, the relationship between image and text—and the associations to be made. In the poet’s shadow, self-referential is the text to be glimpsed by the reader/future poet. Poem no.4 functions as “an example”, combining the elements of the first three poems, and this time directly speaking to the audience, while still providing advice, “text is looked at before being read/ so don't waste your time/ suggest what you/ the poet mean/ before it's too late”.