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Poems on the big screen? Motionpoems.'s video poster

A poetry ... screening? Motionpoems wants to turn THE BEST AMERICAN POETRY 2011 into short films for new audiences. Read more

Minneapolis, MN Poetry
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This project was successfully funded on June 14, 2011.

A poetry ... screening? Motionpoems wants to turn THE BEST AMERICAN POETRY 2011 into short films for new audiences.

Minneapolis, MN Poetry
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About this project

Hello from Angella and Todd!

We're poetry lovers who’ve discovered a passion for bringing poets and filmmakers together. We’ve done this for two years now, with over 22 poems, and the stunning results have landed in online textbooks, in traditional broadcast media … even at film festivals in the US and abroad! 

We call these short-short films "motionpoems." A motionpoem is a hybrid of poetry and film, and our creative model is getting lots of attention as the world of traditional publishing tilts to accommodate digital media.

Our mission is simple: To broaden the audience for poetry by turning great poems into short films. 

We have news.

We've got a really exciting new partnership to tell you about. 

This year, with your help, we'll produce 12-15 new motionpoems to accompany Scribner's celebrated annual Best American Poetry anthology... the 2011 volume. It's a new pilot-year collaboration that significantly raises the profile for us. It means we'll be working with a stellar lineup of poets this summer, from emerging writers to multiple Pulitzer Prize winners. The completed projects will be free online for general audiences and educators. The entire publishing industry will be watching. We can't wait to show you the results!

Your pledge will help make it possible.  

What's a motionpoem? Here's one example: 

Every motionpoem is unique. That's because we give every video artist complete creative control over his/her project, making each motionpoem a hybrid work of art in its own right. 

Here's another example:

Hard to believe it's all volunteer! These projects are created in full HD by professional animators and sound designers, who are working nights and weekends (up to 150 hours per poem), fueled by passion and the thrill of creation. 

Your pledge will: 

  • pay our artists and poets a small stipend as a reward for their work, 
  • support our annual public screening in Minneapolis and bring it to other markets (every pledge over $20 is a bid for a screening in your area!), 
  • pursue partnerships with other publishers, broadcasters, and film studios, and 
  • create screening discussion kits for use by libraries and schools.

You’ll also help us gear up to bring our artist-driven model to other poetry publishers. With every pledge, you send a message to the publishing industry that says you’d like to see more of this kind of creative support for great contemporary literature!

Depending on your pledge, you'll get:

  • reserved seating for our world premiere screening Oct 25 at Open Book in Minneapolis
  • a DVD of 2011 motionpoems
  • a signed, numbered, limited edition 2-color letterpress poster of our current mantra, “Boil it down,” from the 2010 Thomas Lux motionpoem above. 
  • a signed, numbered, limited edition hand-made flip book of Todd Boss’s poem, “God Flips,” designed by Angella Kassube. Animation at its simplest!
  • a signed, hand-pencilled 14x20 broadside of Todd Boss's poem, "The World Is in Pencil," soon to appear in POETRY magazine. See "UPDATE" tab above for full details. 

God Flips

the ages’

pages like

a book’s

’twixt thumb

& hooks.

Thanks for watching! And thanks for your support of this campaign. We're excited about what the future holds for Motionpoems, and we are thrilled to be able to bring you along for the ride! 

Yours in poetry, 

Todd and Angella



"Of all the new ways people are trying to disseminate the art form of poetry, I think Motionpoems is one of the most original and the one to appeal most to younger people, and that's important: among them are the poets of the future, and among them are the readers of the future."



  • Our growth phase doesn't allow us to accept submissions at present. But we're exploring ways we can support the cross-pollination of poets with video artists beyond the scope of our literary partnerships. So stay tuned, and we'll let you know how our thinking evolves.

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  • In an effort to save on postage and motionpower, (!) we're consolidating shipments of flip books and other pledge rewards until our DVD and screening kit are completed and ready to mail ... sometime in November, we're guessing, since BAP 2011 won't be on shelves till September, and completed motionpoems won't be mastered to DVD till our screening event on October 25.

    We'll be in touch when your stuff is ready to send. In the short term, we'll request your complete mailing address; watch for that survey e-mail. Sorry for the delay ... We can hardly wait too!

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  • See our Vimeo channel. Want to be the first on your block to see, savor, and share new projects as they're completed? Every pledge is a subscription!

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  • We don’t believe motionpoems should replace reading poetry the old-fashioned way. In fact, we believe more people would read poetry if they were introduced to its visual, aural, and musical powers through film. It's all about getting more people to read poetry. Read Todd’s posts on topics like these on the Best American Poetry blog this month.

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  • We have a network of talents, constantly expanding as word gets around. We select based on the strength of previous work.

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  • Motionpoems allow commercial animators and video artists to stretch themselves creatively. There's no client telling them what to do, so motionpoems are attractive projects and filmmakers love to add them to their demo reels. But when a filmmaker is volunteering 50-150 hours of their time, we feel an obligation to return the favor with some small financial incentive.

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  • About $500 for starters, if we can make our Kickstarter goal. It’s not much, and it doesn’t begin to pay for their time, but it’s acknowledgement and thanks.

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  • Poets have already been paid a reprint fee for being in Best American Poetry. We hope to match that fee. We believe in paying artists!

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  • Standing-room-only audiences here in Minneapolis have really enjoyed meeting the artists and discussing these remarkable projects; we want to bring that experience to audiences in other markets. We also hope to bring our model of literary filmmaking to other publishing partners, expanding our capabilities and expertise in this emerging market.

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  • We’d like to become the publishing industry’s go-to place for high-quality literary shorts. We hope to try our hand at MotionFiction someday soon. We dream about partnering with PBS, BBC, HBO or Sundance Channel, and have opened many such doors already.

    Oh, and wouldn’t it be cool if a motionpoem won an Oscar?

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  • We'll let you know!

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  • No. Nobody’s paying for these films right now. We’re still establishing a track record and proving there’s an audience (you!). Any future profits will be shared with poets and video artists. We want to pay ourselves someday for directing this not-for-profit project (which has already become a full-time job), but we’re not in it to profit off of someone else’s art.

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  • We’re applying for government and foundation grant support. Because our work lifts lots of boats (for poets, filmmakers, publishers, literary journals, distributors, broadcasters) we are fast developing partnerships, some of which may result in revenues that will be profit-shared. None of these are paying relationships yet. Your individual pledge is key to our stability as we find our niche across industries.

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  • We’ve already begun developing poems by Mark Strand, Matthew Dickman, Jane Hirshfield, Richard Wilbur, David Wagoner, and many others. Seems like every week we're adding an amazing poet, video artist, or musician to the list. You can “like” Motionpoems’ Facebook page for updates, or pledge (at right) to join our mailing list.

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  • Our world premiere of 2011 motionpoems will take place on the evening of October 25 in the Target Performance Hall at Open Book, 1011 Washington Avenue S., in Minneapolis. A reception for our artists will follow.

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  • You selected
    Pledge $10 or more

    74 backers

    Get an "early-bird" subscription to our video podcast. When it launches this Fall, you'll be first in line!

  • You selected
    Pledge $20 or more

    58 backers

    Get one VIP reservation for our fall premiere screening of 2011 Best American Poetry motionpoems at Open Book, Minneapolis, October 25, 2011. Add $20 to your pledge for each additional seat you would like.

    NOT IN MINNESOTA? Every pledge at this level is a bid for a screening in your area. Spread the word, and who knows? We may be thanking you in person at a theater near you!

  • You selected
    Pledge $50 or more

    18 backers

    Get a hand-made, numbered, signed, limited-edition flip book of Todd Boss’s poem “God Flips.” Animation at its simplest! Add $15 for each additional flip book you would like. Makes great gifts!

  • You selected
    Pledge $80 or more

    5 backers

    Get a hand-printed, numbered, signed, limited edition broadside poster of our current mantra, “Boil it down,” from “Render, Render,” by poet Thomas Lux, a 2010 motionpoem. The poster reads: "Boil it down, and plant as many kisses upon the world as the world can bear." Add $30 each additional poster. Add $15 ea. for flip books. (Posters won't ship till Fall 2011.)

  • You selected
    Pledge $100 or more

    29 backers Limited (1 left of 30)

    Get a DVD of completed 2011 motionpoems PLUS a paperback edition of Best American Poetry 2011. Add $30 ea. for posters. Add $15 ea. for flip books.

  • You selected
    Pledge $125 or more

    9 backers Limited (21 left of 30)

    NEW PLEDGE LEVEL Get a hand-pencilled 14x20 signed broadside of Todd Boss's poem, "The World Is in Pencil," forthcoming in POETRY magazine. Calligrapher: Emily J. Snyder, Queen Quills Calligraphy. See "update" tab above for further details. Add $30 ea. for posters. Add $15 ea. for flip books.

  • You selected
    Pledge $200 or more

    8 backers

    A gift for your local library, school, or community center: one screening kit complete with DVD and discussion guide, licensed for one public event. Use it to promote poetry, inspire writers and students, and build community! Add $30 ea. for posters. Add $15 ea. for flip books.

  • You selected
    Pledge $500 or more

    3 backers

    A closing “thanks” credit on a 2011 motionpoem, plus a flip book, poster, and early-bird podcast subscription. Plus DVD, flip book, poster, and subscription.

  • You selected
    Pledge $1,000 or more

    3 backers

    A closing “producer” credit on a 2011 motionpoem, plus a flip book, poster, and early-bird podcast subscription.

  • You selected
    Pledge $5,000 or more

    0 backers

    A closing “producer” credit on ALL 2011 motionpoems. Plus DVD, flip book, poster, and subscription.


Funding period

- (30 days)