It was such an honour to make a film of one of my favourite poems with the Adrian Brinkerhoff Foundation, directed by Matthew Thompson and produced with Poet in the City.
Li-Young Lee‘s “From Blossoms” explores joy and loss, darkness and light, sugar and dust. It is one of those enviable poems that powerfully connects the minutely specific and sensory to timeless ideas about life, love and death.
Lee was born in Djakarta, Indonesia in 1957 to Chinese political exiles, and “From Blossoms” was first published in 1986 in his collection Rose (BOA Editions). Thank you to Lee and his publisher for permission to record the poem. One of the reasons I chose “From Blossoms” for the #ReadBy series was because I’ve seen it connect so powerfully with people in my workshops, and I’m now super excited to be able to share it with more people through the film! Adrian Brinkerhoff have made lots of other beautiful poetry films which you can check out on their website.
The film was produced by Poet in the City, who I’m working with on lots of projects at the moment, including a manifesto on the ethics around community involvement in public poetry. Last month, I took part in their Poems of Maternal Might event at King’s Place, London, with two wonderful poets – Liz Berry, Nazneen Ahmed – all chaired by the brilliant Saima Mir, whose Bradford gangland novel, The Khan, is attracting lots of attention at the moment.
If you live in the North East of England, Poet in the City have a paid creative call out at the moment for their HerStory project. They’re asking “what does a city look like that cares for women?” The deadline’s 16 December – get in touch with them to get involved!
In the film you’ll also get a peek at the Sheffield’s Christmas markets – which are on right through December. I’ll also have a new poetry film out in the new year too – so watch this space!