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Capital City Film Festival adds poetry to annual event

Capital City Film Festival 2022

Lansing’s annual Capital City Film Festival wraps up this weekend. While films played on screen, some in the audience were scribbling notes and writing poems. This year, 16 poets were invited to watch and reflect on their experience.

Nancy DeJoy, an associate professor at Michigan State University, is the poet-in-residence for the festival and has worked with the festival in the past. She said the project was inspired in part by her need to reflect on experiences.

Photo courtesy of Nancy DeJoy
Nancy DeJoy is the 2022 Capital City Film Festival's poet-in-residence. This is the first time poetry has been added to the event which saw 16 poets reflect on several films throughout the festival.

"I’ve been talking to people about how sitting and doing a little bit of reflection, you know, can really help you sort of figure out what’s going on with your emotional life and your reactions to the film,” she said.

The 16 poets are all local and were selected through an application process, DeJoy said. She adds the poets receive a small stipend for their work. The project was supposed to start in 2020, but the pandemic prevented its debut until now.

DeJoy said each poet was given the chance to select a film of their choice to write about. DeJoy is also writing a couple of poems on films she’s watched and will write a mashup of all the poems. Asked about her own experience participating in the project, she said it was challenging.

“It’s one thing to go enjoy the film right, and it’s another thing to figure out some deep either response or level of meaning that might not be resonating more generally for the people but that you understand as important,” she said.

DeJoy said she hopes the poems will inspire people to watch the films and she’s excited for next year's festival.

A reading of the poems will be held Saturday evening at 8 p.m. at the Avenue Cafe in Lansing.

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