Poetry, like the humans who cherish it, is subject to the laws of evolution. First, there was poetry itself. Then recitations by bards in mead halls. Then poetry readings in academic settings. Next came poetry slams in downtown clubs. Now, there’s Words That Move: See Through A Different I—Max Stossel’s impressive new film that marries the ancient art of lyric storytelling with contemporary digital technology.
I met Max Stossel at the Dance With Films festival in New York, where Words That Move premiered in December, winning the audience appreciation award. Committed to the brave new world of digital creativity, he spoke with gusto about the ways new media can enhance the ancient art of poetry.
Stossel says he became intrigued by poetry as a youngster when he discovered the fiery power of words that rhymed. He soon began writing and performing his verse in theaters in New York and California to much critical acclaim, leading Forbes magazine to call him one of the best storytellers of the year. Then Stossel decided to ramp things up to a different level, drawing on his expertise as a technology maven focused on the impact of social media on the art of communication.
Words That Move: See Through A Different I is a compilation of several of Stossel’s poem performances on life, love, isolation, and our fractured civic landscape. The film offers a fascinating immersive experience in which Stossel recites his poetry accompanied by brilliantly executed special effects that Homer would have been envious of. For example, there’s a segment inspired by his observations of the “lonely crowds” on the New York City subway system, one that morphs into an ecstatic dance with a woman passenger who catches his fancy. There’s also an incisive commentary on our troubled civic dialogue, in which Stossel laments how Americans are now talking “at” each other instead of “with” each other. Sadly, this poem had been written in 2015, before cordiality had been trumped by corrosiveness. In this exclusive interview, the ever-enthusiastic Max Stossel reflects on his poetic journey and his self-proclaimed mission to valorize poets, those often-overlooked folk that Shelley called the “unacknowledged legislators of the world.”
You can watch Words That Move: See Through a Different I at this link: https://www.wordsthatmove.com/special