Where to watch poetry on YouTube

From radio to podcasts, to spoken word and performance poetry in video form, specifically YouTube. Radio and podcasts focus on the words and sound of the voice, where as videos of people performing poetry add that performative element and seems like a more total translation of a live performance. Many channels have managed to reach millions with posting regular videos of a wide range of poets.

We look at a few local channels and a few big ones overseas.

We of course have the Melbourne Spoken Word YouTube channel. Started a few years ago with Bill Moran and Emily Weitzman visiting, with the help of Freeman Trebilcock in particular we’ve expanded to grow a channel of regular videos, from our own events as well as recording other gigs around Melbourne and hope to expand upon that in 2016.

The other key Melbourne-based channel is RealPoetryMovies, produced by Ken Smeaton. Ken publishes videos each week from poetry gigs around Melbourne, and they’re known for including the text on the screen with a poem.

Before YouTube, Melbourne had Red Lobster. A regular program on community television channel, Channel 31, produced by David McLauchlan and others. It ran up until 2012, and there’s an archive of all 275 episodes online, which is great to see poetry from past gigs and some poets looking a little more youthful than they do now.

Chamber Poets, a gig in Woodend run by Myron Lysenko, has a channel of videos from their gig as well, with videos of both features and open micers online. Other projects, such as the Common Ground interfaith spoken word program have their own playlist as part of Multicultural Arts Victoria with videos.

Beyond Melbourne, Bankstown Poetry Slam in Sydney has a regular channel of live poetry performances from their gigs and the Australian Poetry Slam has videos from the National and NSW finals.

Beyond Australia, the number one channel that most people have heard of is Button Poetry, featuring videos from mostly slam poets, from slams and gigs around the United States, they’ve even hosted a livestreamed poetry event. Some of their poems literally have millions of views and have been featured in major online media outlets.

Also, from the States, Write About Now, is another channel worth checking out, the producers being a mentor and inspiration to our own channel. They produce beautiful looking videos of slam poets from the United States.

Aside from channels that feature a variety of poets, many poets have their own individual channels around Melbourne.

For more on how to create your own videos, we wrote a post looking at the why and how of making poetry videos and then looked at some examples of different approaches.

Annie Solah