A Poet's Take on Turning YouTube Into Art

By Alexis C. Madrigal

During an otherwise pessimistic and occasionally grumpy panel about "writing in the Internet age" starring novelist Tobias Wolff, playwright John Guare, and poet Jane Hirshfield, there was one shining moment of optimism about the possibility for new literary arts in our time.


Hirshfield, a long-time member of the online community the WELL, saw a historical precedent for the development of art out of the messiness of YouTube in the creation of the poetic form of haiku. 

"I think we are almost inevitably going to see a high YouTube art form develop, the way the 17th century poet Basho took this game - 17 syllable poems - and took his attention as a poet and human being and turned it into what might be the most widely practiced form of poetry in the world today [haiku]," Hirshfield said.


What would this new form look like? Who is going to be the new media Basho? No one quite knows, Hirshfield admitted. 


I submit that Andrew Filipone, Jr, creator of the video, "'Charlie Rose' by Samuel Beckett" (embedded below) may qualify as a maker of "high YouTube art." But I'm confident that there are dozens of others, too.


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