Janet Lees Showcase

We’ve been working to collaborate with Janet Lees, a poet and filmmaker whose work we know and love. Below are a few examples of Janet’s delicate skill with poetry and film, bringing a slowness and to her work – as she says “Something very fascinating and exciting happens when you mix poetry with moving images and sound. I like the idea that poetry films are not poems or films, but something different altogether. Instead of the fast cuts and manic pace we’re used to, it can be really compelling to stay with just one thing as the poem plays out. A whole tiny world glimmering with atmosphere and emotion; so much more than the sum of its parts.”

Here are three of our favourites, all widely screened and admired.

“Huntress” – selected for Zebra Poetry Film Festival 2019 and shortlisted in the Poetry Film Live competition

“Nowhere to go but on” – a poetry film by Janet Lees, with music by Martyn Cain The poem is a cento sourced from poems by Christian Wiman, Anne Sexton, Tracy K Smith, Heid E Edrich, and Wendell Berry.

“The end of the rainbow” – Janet notes “I made this using found text and found footage. For a long time I’ve been fascinated by the language of the bible, the cadence and poetry of it, and the momentous imagery in the language. I made the poem using repurposed words and phrases from Genesis. I was looking through public domain footage for a commissioned project and came across these pieces of film shot from war planes. I found them devastating, and immediately felt they would work with the found poem from the bible.”