Appraisal (A poetry film)

Screened at FILMPOEM 2013 as part of the main programme, Dunbar, Scotland.
Selected for the CologneOFF IX – 9th Cologne International Videoart Festival
Selected for the 2013 VISIBLE VERSE FESTIVAL, Canada

A poetry film that explores ideas of alienation and personal identity in relation to others and by testing the limits within the self. Filmed in Ireland in 2013.

Images by Melissa Diem
Poem written and read by Melissa Diem
Sound production by Colm Slattery.


I tested what to do or not from strange lives passing swiftly

before me on a thirty-six inch screen or me before them

on a train travelling before curtains are drawn and after the lights flick on

to renovated kitchens viewed from the back, bird-tables, trampolines all gathering nets.

I tested my body – giving up food, and days I could sleep in multitudes,

pressing the pliable walls of my mind and scaffolds of thought to a fault-line.

I walked across the country with my eyes closed

like a kid trying on sizes pretending to be blind because you haven’t figured out

how to gauge the distance of your life against others.

Or like testing an ornament unbearably fragile you’ve been told not to touch

but you can’t stand the tension of not knowing

the exact measure of pressure it would take

to crush it


Published in The Stinging Fly 2010

15 thoughts on “Appraisal (A poetry film)

  1. Melissa, I really enjoyed this, particularly the transitions between the blurry trees and the static noise which serve to form an atmosphere that makes the entrance of your voice and poem more striking. Great! Nicky

  2. For me there’s a tension in it between a tentative sense of expansivesness/possibility in the words and images and the fragiliity which permeates that and resonates really well at the end. The grace and delicacy of the little girl is gorgeous

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