"The Poet" on Gallery

Written by David Tamez on Thursday December 27, 2012

Writtten by: Janna Smith

It’s been a week filled with poetry for the Gallery staff as we work on the upcoming show about poetry in Oklahoma. On Monday, Oklahoma City Actor Jeff Burleson helped us out by playing the role of a poet from the past. We shot the scene in the OETA studio. Charles Kennedye our resident lighting expert began lighting the set early to make the set look just right. All his hard work paid off and the lighting looked exceptional! Members of the OETA Production crew: Mark Alexin, Chuck Dutrow, Carlos Manzano, and Holly Basey were also essential in making the video look appealing. They helped with everything from the aesthetics of the set to the props; we couldn’t have done it without them. I am the newest member of the Gallery team and this was my first time getting to shoot in the studio. It was the best first studio experience possible; the lighting and set looked great, we had an actor in full costume, and it was an uplifting experience to collaborate with many of the skilled people who work at OETA. There are several different ideas represented through this video like showing the setting in which poetry used to be written, and illustrating how some people view poetry even today. In addition, we wanted to reveal how the artistic styles and the tools used to create poetry have evolved. That is why our room and actor transformed into the modern era complete with jeans, a ball cap, a laptop, headphones and a lava lamp. These ideas came straight from the mind of reporter Susan Miller, who organized this whole shoot. The video we got from this shoot will add extra flair to the Gallery piece and I am excited about editing it.


On Wednesday, Susan and I arrived at Sauced in the Paseo Arts District for the Red Dirt Poetry Slam. At this State competition scores were tallied and the winner goes on to represent Oklahoma on a National level. We met many talented poets including Melissa May, who is currently ranked as the third best spoken word poet in the world. At the slam, I felt a medley of emotions as each person spoke powerfully about their desires, struggles and joys. The characters told their stories with such passion that they drew me in; and before I knew it I was feeling what they were feeling, or at least I identified with their words. It was a pleasure to see this community of artists cheering on their peers. It’s been a fun week gathering this video and partaking in the beautiful words of these writers. I’ve discovered that I quite enjoy spoken word poetry and I hope you will like it too when you watch the Gallery show airing in February.


Photo courtesy of: LZ Photography  (208) 739-6120

-Janna Smith