While poetry has long been known as one of the most expressive and universal art mediums, it has remained largely the same since its inception in ancient times.

This is exactly what Madison-based art incubator Arts + Literature Laboratory hopes to change with the creation of the first-ever Midwest Video Poetry Festival.

This first of its kind, set to debut on Capitol Square in October 2020, seeks to revolutionize poetry forever by introducing a new element to its presentation — film.

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“Video poetry gives creators an opportunity to use one of our newest art forms — film — to transform one of our oldest art forms — poetry,” ALL’s website said.

Video poetry, as you may have guessed, combines spoken poetry with film in order to enhance the meaning of the piece. Video poetry can be set to music and coupled with images and graphics, adding a cinematic element to the otherwise literature-based art style.

While video poetry has been around since 1978, the Midwest Video Poetry Festival is the first time the emerging art form has been brought to Wisconsin, let alone the Midwest.

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The free festival will be open to the public as part of the larger Wisconsin Book Festival and will screen the winners of its video poetry competition over the course of two separate nights of screenings.

“MVPF will be the first of its kind in Wisconsin and will present the work of local, national, and international poets and filmmakers,” ALL said in on its website.

ALL will accept entries as long as ten minutes and judge its applicants on their video’s originality, strength and quality of images, and quality of narrative and production values. Videos chosen for MVPF will be selected by Sep. 1.

Interested in applying to the first-ever MVPF? There’s still time to submit entries before their Aug. 1 deadline. More information can be found on their website.