77 poets were filmed speaking spontaneously about what poetry might be by the generous and effulgent George Quasha for the second volume of "poetry is: Speaking Portraits." I remember well the day, several years ago, that he filmed CA Conrad and me at the Slought Foundation in Philadelphia. In a beautiful essay at the Poetry Foundation website, George describes the spur for the "Speaking Portraits" project:

"About twelve years ago it entered my mind that no matter how much I thought about what I do—poetry, art, music—I had never arrived at a final thought about what poetry or art or music is. The Wittgenstein move to let go of definition and look instead for a usage context only scratched half of the itch, but it did not satisfy the part of me that feels sure I do know what “it” is. So, skip the idea of definition, I thought, and go to the inner horse’s mouth, which, however, turns out to be the inner Proteus, god of elusive sea change. The object is not an object and not a subject, but a zone of activity just this side of the event horizon, edge of the abyss, threshold to nowhere...."

The film premiered at Anthology Film Archives last weekend, but George has already made it accessible to everybody for free: listen in!

[vimeo 129744982]