I’ve always loved the book If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, which I read to my children when they were little. In the book, a boy gives a delicious chocolate chip cookie to a mouse. The mouse loves the cookie, which leads him to ask for things to go with it: a glass of milk, a straw to drink the milk with, a mirror to see if he has a milk moustache, etc. Soon the mouse is asking for a story, a nap, and eventually, another cookie.
When I discovered video poetry in 2012, I was just like the mouse: my curiosity led me in a number of directions. First I watched hundreds of videos. Soon I reached out to video artists, interviewing them for my column The Third Form. A year or so later, I began to experiment with making my own video poems, and soon after, ran Media Poetry Studio, a summer camp dedicated to teaching the art to teen girls. Now that I live in Eugene, Oregon, I’ve created Girls Voices Matter, a summer program dedicated to teaching teen girls how to make their own short videos.
My “cookie” was a chance encounter at a writers’ conference in the winter of 2012. I wandered into a conference titled “Poetry Video in the Shadow of Music Video – Performance, Document, and Film.” When I entered Boulevard Room A at the Chicago Hilton and took a seat at the back of the room, I had no idea that my life would change. Now video-making is an important and growing part of my artistic practice.
If you give a girl a camera, what will she do next? Imagine the possibilities!