VideoPoetry: Collaboration as Imaginative Method

By Peter Lutze, James Armstrong and Laura Woodworth-Ney.

Published by The Humanities Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Three Idaho professors (a poet, videographer, and historian) have been collaborating for eight years on a cross-disciplinary project called VideoPoetry, which integrates historical narration, narrative poetry, historical photographs, and videography into the video medium. To this point we’ve worked primarily on a specific program, Culture of Reclamation, which explores the culture of the early irrigated landscape communities in southern Idaho. In reflecting on our work-process, we’ve discovered that we’ve fundamentally changed as scholars as a result of our collaboration. This paper identifies the nature of our changes and documents instances of the ways in which we have been challenged to expand our ideas about other academic disciplines and our own. To work within the constraints of VideoPoetry, a new mode of expression, each of us has had to modify our traditional methods. For example, the poet altered a poem’s imagery to suit the sequence and duration of video images. Through the poet’s exploration of the inner lives of historical figures, the historian learned how the imagination can take us beyond what historical sources are willing to tell. Culture of Reclamation is grounded in the transformation of the arid American West, which occurred about one hundred years ago. By focusing our work on the irrigation of southern Idaho, we have come to a greater understanding of the region where we work and live. The video medium allows us to share these insights as public history—the dissemination of scholarship and research to audiences outside of the academy. VideoPoetry compels us to envision collaboratively a narrative about our regional foundations. Through video, we are able to present to a broad audience the often overlooked but transformational power of irrigation projects to turn the arid West into a land of bounty.

Keywords: VideoPoetry, Video, Poetry, History, Videography, American West, Western United States, Irrigation, Evocative Representation, Women in the West

International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 9, Issue 5, pp.107-122. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1015.761KB).

Dr. Peter Lutze

Professor, Department of Communication, Boise State University, Boise, Idaho, USA

Peter Lutze grew up in Oklahoma where his father served as pastor to black parishes. After graduating from Valparaiso University, he obtained an M.F.A. in Filmmaking from Brandeis University and a J.D. at the University of Wisconsin, where he also completed his doctoral dissertation on the German film director and social theorist, Alexander Kluge. Since 1990 he has taught at Boise State University, where he has also served as Director of University Television Productions. He was a founder and served for several years as Chair of Treasure Valley Public Access Television. He has produced numerous films and videos.

Dr. James Armstrong

Professor, Department of Literacy, Boise State University, Boise, Idaho, USA

James Armstrong has been a professor at Boise State University since 1992 where he teaches courses in reading education as well as reading and study strategies. As an undergraduate at Stanford University, he majored in English and completed the Honors Program in Humanities. He went on there to receive his master’s degree in education with a California teaching credential in English. He received his doctorate in reading education from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He has written two textbooks, Reading Tools for College Study and Patterns and Connections, and two books of poetry, Landscapes of Epiphany and Moon Haiku. He enjoys reading, writing, bicycling, running, golf, and photography.

Dr. Laura Woodworth-Ney

Associcate Vice President of Academic Affairs, Provost and Academic Affairs, Idaho State University, Pocatello, Idaho, USA

Laura Woodworth-Ney serves as Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs at Idaho State University. The former chair of the ISU Department of History, she serves as executive editor of the Center for Idaho History and Politics at Boise State University, and is the founding co-editor (with two colleagues) of the Idaho State Historical Society’s Idaho Landscapes: The Magazine of Idaho History, Science, and Art. From 2003 to 2008 she served as editor-in-chief of Idaho Yesterdays: The Journal of Idaho History and she currently serves as the editor of a scholarly book series published by the University of Arizona Press, entitled Women’s Western Voices. She is a prolific scholar, having published nearly 30 articles, book reviews, and scholarly encyclopedia entries, as well as several books. From 2000 to 2007 she served as Co-Director of Women’s Studies, and from 2006 to 2007 she served on the Executive Committee of the Faculty Senate. Woodworth-Ney earned her Ph.D. in American history and public history from Washington State University.

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