Dance and Freedom 2016


Notes from TARP, Vilnius, 2015
A very big thanks to Gabriele Labanauskaite for inviting us to speak at TARP this year. and to the Arts Council for funding the trip. Lucy spoke about her performance poetry show Count Me In and I discussed how my poetry films have developed over the last ten years to current haiku poetry films. We were able to discuss Liberated Words and position it within a European context. We both went away feeling inspired by the innovative approach to poetry making in Lithuania and Europe in general. We are planning a joint project with TARP for next year From The Rivers to the Sea with teenagers playing a central role. If any other festival is interested in joining us, please get in touch. Highlights for me include:The Audio Zine – a new experience where we sat in darkness and listened to poets reading with sounds from their favourite places, alongside music/sound art culminating in what felt like a highly refined orchestral piece. The overall experience was very intimate and allowed a highly personal interpretation Prague-based Ondrej Buddeus’ performance texts comprising solo, duologue and choral elements, as well as poetry film, featured individual compositions that developed a thought or concept that may or may not lead to the next. The duologue or dialogue also involved cross-translation into Lithuanian that created in my mind a third area of performance poetry. Alessandro Bosetti from Milan provided a mesmerising performance improvising to his own pre-recorded composition delivered via laptop from the centre of a darkened and packed room. This format creates opportunities for dialogue or sound-making with the self; repetitive phrases and long, flying bouts of fantastical storytelling.She’s A Show gave us a ranting, raving tightly produced show that pumped up the crossover between poetry and the sexuality of a rock performance.Making haiku poems myself I was particularly interested in Cinema Fragile’s workshop with haiku video poems. Their creative method relied on respecting the spirit of haiku and its rhythms through editing in 5/7/5 seconds or double time. Apologies to the performances we missed, but I have good memories of the poetry slam and its friendly, less competitively driven spirit than the UK; of speaking at the National Gallery of Art and discussing the state of poetry film today; experiencing the friendliness of Gabriele and all working at TARP – we were given a highly interesting tour of the sights – and in general soaking up new approaches to the art of making poetry. It was very hard to leave.


Liberated Words are delighted to welcome Rebecca Tantony and Shagufta Iqbal to our team! They are both talented young poets and have worked extensively in community projects and events. They will be working with us to develop our outreach programme and to bring poetry film to wider audience.


Rebecca Tantony is a spoken word poet and multi media practitioner. She has taught spoken word at the Barbican Theatre and the San Francisco writing centre, 826 Valencia. She runs the Bristol branch of Hammer and Tongue, one of the UK’s leading spoken word collectives, and is co-director for the Applied Theatre Initiative, a Californian based arts organisation which works with teenagers to create solution focused social change. Her first collection of poetry is published by Burning Eye.


Shagufta Iqbal is interested in bringing poetry to a wider audience, particularly through the use of spoken word, theatre and movement. Her commitment to convey her experience of being part of two diverse cultures has brought her much acclaim and she has been described as being ‘one of the most talked about poets’ in the South West. She was one of the poets in the Public Address tour and runs the online magazine Bristol Women.


I have a new website with the two films premiered at TARP see sarahtremlett.com

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Download the poster here:  POETRY FILM poster BRLSI

Home Page Screening

Welcome to the new ‘home page screening’ where we are showcasing individual poetry films by poets and filmmakers. We are beginning with a series on performance poetry films.

“O kas?/ Who?” (2012) from AVaspo

Lithuania – Poetry and Place

When I first visited Lithuania in 2009 it was for a British Council funded solo exhibition in Klaipeda. I had a warm and welcoming experience, and was even treated to free accommodation by the gallery. I also travelled alone recording and absorbing life by the Baltic Sea. At that time the country had officially been independent from the Soviet Union since 1990-1991; but of course change is gradual, and political eruptions were (and still are) potentially on the horizon. My exhibition and talk was about Voices and Silences, screening two poetry films and a selection of non-dualist or two-in-one prints, where philosophically and materially both the positive and negative from a printing plate are part of one work. Part of my practice is to create poems and pieces that encourage the viewer to think about this relationship in a contemplative, or paradoxical way.

After six years I feel very fortunate that I can return to Lithuania under the banner of Liberated Words and poetry film. Where better to review the contemporary situation than through the poetic temperature of Lithuanian poets and filmmakers at TARP poetry film festival. One question I want to ask is how much do they think they are changing as a country. Do they aim to include their past in their poetic works as they move forward? A term which has arisen from many older, exiled poets is unbelonging, in a sense adrift from a mother ship that was your home but can no longer be your home. Alternatively, some poets may feel the need to erase the past to begin again; to suppress their national identity for a united philosophical worldview of mankind existing idealistically beyond borders.

The global Internet and the internationalism of poetry film can perhaps transcend the difficulties of other genres, but we have another problem of language and translation. This is an area which has often arisen as English is the dominant language, yet we want to hear the nuances, inflexions and temporal, emotive rhythms of other languages. This is in addition to the translation of words into images that often takes place in poetry film collaborations. So, we have three primary forms of translation to experience and absorb: socio-historic, linguistic and from verbal to visual-verbal.

One poet who can provide us with a glimpse into the poetry film of contemporary Lithuania is Gabriele Labanauskaite – the founder and organiser of TARP poetry film festival. As a poet and dramatist Gabriele began making audiovisual works in 2004 and started AVaspo (Serpent of AudioVisual Poetry) see en.avaspo.lt. She began TARP in 2006 as a logical extension of working in a multimedia environment, with the aim of creating a platform for friends working in different types of poetic artistic expression.

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Her work is best described as experimental, performative, music-based poetry film. In some ways she is like the Icelandic singer and musician Björk in that she performs loose narratives which are suffused with the music and visuals; but rather than songs she creates texts which are then interpreted by musicians and video artists. Opposed to the traditional convention of recitation her voice is used like another instrument, as part of a group of highly skilled, avant-garde musicians. The video is then created where she often features dancing to her own rhythms, or moving through strange metaphorical spaces.

In this film O kas? or Who? from 2012 Gabriele and friends go on a car journey to a picnic. Whilst in some senses surreal in approach we have a strong sense of her national identity. The sense of a looming presence and the words ‘Who is behind this brick wall’ are repeated; and ‘they’ are always felt to be present even amongst nature. It is important to remember that her work, featuring women, makes the difficult environment she has grown up in all the more poignant. The innocent act of a picnic juxtaposes with an insistent soundtrack, and whilst animated flowers twirl across the screen joyously, encroaching leaves twine around the girls and pull them away. Finally they dance in abandonment as the music reaches a crescendo. This is a film which, strong on visual and musical content, needs very little translation; it is a new tale of a new Lithuania finding its feet, told from a woman’s perspective.

Gabriele will be one of the poetry filmmakers featured in my book on poetry film which will be published by Intellect Books.




Interview with Sarah Tremlett and Lucy English
for Tarp audio visual poetry festival 2015
Sarah and Lucy ‘waking up’ whilst talking about
poetry film


Click the image below to read the
Liberated Words Poetry Film Festival III brochure.

Click the image below to read the
Reflections, Little Theatre Cinema, brochure.

Programmes from Liberated Words III £3 + p&p
Programmes from The Little Theatre Cinema £2 + p&p
Both programmes £4 + p&p
Contact: info@liberatedwords.com

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 VIDEO BARDO  click here  

 VISIBLE VERSE click here 


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“Oh to be in row 20 at the Arnolfini in Bristol on October 3 when the lights dim and the screen lights up because that’s the way it was meant for videopoetry to be experienced. If Marinetti could only see us now, his dictum parole in liberta announcing ‘LIBERATED WORDS’ in Bristol, a celebration of the leap from page to screen.”                                   Tom Konyves


Tears in Rain

Tom Konyves writing for us!

We invited Canadian pioneer of videopoetry Tom Konyves to cut the ribbon on our  series of fascinating writings on our selected poetry films – see resources /articles.  Tom has chosen a film by Madrid-based graffiti artist and poetry filmmaker Dier (included in the VideoBardo section of our 2013 festival). Dier has taken Roy Batty’s (or rather Rutger Hauer’s inspired improvisation) from the dying words soliloquy from Blade Runner as the title of the film, and as a metaphor for the erasure of graffiti and lost voices on the city streets. This is doubly relevant since Ridley Scott was enlightened enough to go with Hauer’s spare, lone voice rather than the sanctioned but wordy script and paradoxically it has now entered universal language. I think it is a fitting choice for our festival theme, but to remind us to remember rather than let moments be lost in time – in commemoration of all those who gave all they could give – their lives – in the 1914–18 war. Light a candle don’t cry in the rain. S

All those . . . moments . . .

will be lost in time,

like tears . . . in . . . rain.

Time . . . to die . . 


On Poetry Film
Check out the Screensister podcast with Penny Florence and myself at Liberated Words at Encounters, 2014.
Screensister – aka – Stephanie Wessell and Adele Fletcher, are collecting podcast interviews with people in the film industry – particularly with women. Great idea.

Thank you Steph and Adele.

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