Thursday, June 23, 2016

Poetry in Motion: A Kinesthetic Poetic Approach - Report on Vassiliki Mandalou and Efi Tzouri's Session

Vassiliki and Efi, jolly as always, welcomed their audience with music playing. They started out by talking about the Genesis of poetry and motion with a reference to the ancient theatre chorus. 

                                                                                                                       Photo by Maria Vlachopoulou

Then, they went on to talk about the public Literary Program, “Poetry in Motion”, which was developed in 1992 by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and  the Poetry of Society of America and aimed at making the transportation more enjoyable. “Poetry in motion” placed poetry in the transit systems of cities throughout the country and was launched to reach the nearly 7 million daily commuters of New York City. Soon it appeared in other cities, too, such as London. 

Next, they referred to a documentary entitled “Poetry in Motion”, featuring contemporary North American Poetry and music. Some of them were Black Mountain Poets, Beats, minimalist poets and avant-garde poets.

Then it was time for the participants to express their opinions on how they perceive the phrase “poetry in motion” and write their own examples to illustrate it! Some really nice examples were heard! Then Vassiliki and Efi provided us with some of the meanings this phrase may take, such as beautiful, divine etc.

                                                                                                                  Photo by Maria Vlachopoulou

Following they illustrated the notion of “Poetic Felt Space” as the “embodiment of poetry as Dance Movement Imagery”. The development of a performance installation entitled Living Lens as an “extended body of nerves” was an example of this.

They went on to outline the educational value of “Poetry in Motion” as describing elements of poetry, performance and movement, explaining how movement and poetry can be combined, using a variety of physical levels to communicate emotions, voice techniques, tableau and movement  to add meaning to a piece of poetry. All these lead to experiencing a variety of interpretations of a piece of poetry and identifying how choices in the performances highlight a variety of meanings in the piece of poetry.
And then the participants were asked to divide in groups of four and write their own poems: an exercise to unlock the poetry within, as Vassiliki and Efi put it!

                                                                                                                  Photo by Maria Vlachopoulou

After writing their poems groups had to get up and perform them with movement! The exercise was enjoyable, to say the least! Different people came together, wrote their poems and the result was either amusing or romantic or funny or touching but in every case interesting!
The workshop was a unique experience for all participants who had the chance not only to learn about “poetry in motion” but also find out what it’s all about themselves!

Report by Maria Vlachopoulou

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