Dave Bonta from Moving Poems webzine- Interview

Dave Bonta is the editor and publisher of Moving Poems, a magnificent webzine showcasing the best poetry videos on the web. He is a poet and he has published several books. His last poetry collection is the FAILED STATE where the personal meets the political, drawn as much from dreams as from the all-too-real nightmares of an imperialist, carceral state in decline.

Moving Poems is one of the best video poetry sites with presentations and reviews about some projects. When did you establish it and what are the criteria to choose and finally include one video poem to it?


Thanks. I started back in 2009, and have kind of fallen off the wagon in this pandemic year. Criteria for inclusion are fluid. If I’m trying to respond to current events I may choose videos more for the poem and what it has to say than any particular artistry in the video. Otherwise I just try to keep things varied, geographically and stylistically. If I don’t like the poem, however excellent the film might be, I won’t share it. So I guess what I’m saying is I have higher standards for poetry than for video! I am especially interested in encouraging poets who make their own videos. Those are the true videopoems… sometimes. But sometimes a long-term creative partnership can be just as fruitful, and we need to get over that Romantic conceit of artist as lone, heroic creator. In the film world as in the music world, collaboration is by far and away the norm, and I’m glad that this is true in the poetry film world, as well.


What role do the poet and the video artist have in the society?


To entertain, and to liberate the imagination. Anything else—edification, inspiration, cultural revitalization—is all gravy. We should be starting from the position that poems are pleasurable to recite, to share and to attempt to create. Poets need to think of themselves less as skalds or griots, who were/are in the public relations business, and more as morose jesters, stand-up tragi-comedians.

a long-term creative partnership can be just as fruitful, and we need to get over that Romantic conceit of artist as lone, heroic creator.


How closely is artistic expression and meaning tied to culture? To cultural ideas and philosophy? To cultural “forms of life”?


Inextricably. Fortunately enough survives in translation to make me also fairly certain that there are some universal habits of mind/heart. I’m especially fascinated by cross-cultural exchanges when they are at least somewhat free of (neo-)colonialist coersion. I also feel we need to
remember and if possible restore some of the cultural connections that humans used to have with non-human animals.

If you would like to criticize or make a comment about the art world, what would it be?


If an artist or writer doesn’t have some connection to the lives of people outside the professional/managerial or ruling classes, it’s difficult to see how their work avoids sterility and ultimate irrelevence.

Do you have any dream project? Is it possible to make it real?


1) Yes. 2) Absolutely. I just can’t be arsed.


What is the best piece of advice you have given to an artist?


Find a reliable pharmacist.

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