Naomi van Niekerk‘s animation of a poem by Ronelda Kamfer. Like the Grand Prize winner What about the law, this was on the shortlist for the 2016 Weimar Poetry Film Awards. Both films were produced as part of a series of animated poetry shorts in Afrikaans called Filmverse, headed up by Diek Grobler under the aegis of the ATKV (Afrikaans Language and Culture Association). Here’s how Google Translate renders the website’s description of the project:
Classical poetry and the work of contemporary poets are used to create a “visual anthology” in which a dialogue is created between word and image. Each animation film is accompanied by its own soundtrack in which the poem is read among others. The end product is a DVD of about 30 minutes with the twelve animation films on which are displayed as a separate production. The DVD playback is accompanied by an exhibition of posters of each of the twelve animation films.
A Moving Poems production in which I experimented with some abstract live footage meant to evoke animation. I sourced the
text—by American poet Sarah Sloat—from The Poetry Storehouse, where I also used one of the sound recordings, a reading by poet Amy Miller, to pace the titling, but then removed it from the soundtrack.
This replaces an earlier video I made for the same poem that I was never quite happy with, because its point of departure from the text was a bit too obvious and clever for my taste. (That one never made it onto Moving Poems.) The footage this time is a clip of fiber optic tips from Beachfront B-Roll, source of some the least generic free stock footage on the web, and the soundtrack is a public-domain field recording from Freesound.org of a prairie in eastern Oregon, complete with meadowlarks.
Speaking of Freesound, they’re currently on a fundraising campaign to cover their development and maintenance costs, which I’m guessing are not insignificant. Please give if you can. They’re a great resource for filmmakers and audiophiles.
Die Jury des 1. Weimarer Poetryfilm-Preises, bestehend aus der Erfurter Dichterin Nancy Hünger, dem Leiter des ZEBRA Poetryfilm-Festivals (Berlin/Münster) Thomas Zandegiacomo Del Bel sowie dem Wiener Filmemacher Hubert Sielecki wählte den südafrikanischen Beitrag WHAT ABOUT THE LAW (2014, 3:14 min) zum Sieger des mit 1000,- € dotierten Jurypreises. Regie führte der südafrikanische Animationskünstler Charles Badenhorst; das dem Film zugrundeliegende Gedicht verfasste der südafrikanische Autor Adam Small.
The Audience Award went to Steel and Air, a film based on a poem by John Ashbery directed by Chris and Nick Libbey and commissioned by Motionpoems, which I shared back in March. The full list of nominees is on the Poetryfilmkanal website.
A “visual poem” directed by Dutch filmmaker Judith Veenendaal using a text written by the UK voiceover actor and poet Johnny B.A.N.G. Reilly. Noel Schoolderman was the director of photography and Adam Taylor wrote the music. I found the film thanks to an article by Olivia Zhu in 3 Quarks Daily, “Johnny B.A.N.G. Reilly, Being Free,” which also includes another poetry film featuring Reilly’s words and reading, an ad for Johnnie Walker (which is much better than the whisky, and is well worth clicking through to watch). Zhu discusses and compares the two films at some length, speculating that “The pairing of poetry and film might be what helps re-awaken popular interest in poetry.” Check it out.
|Y era el demonio de mi sueño, el ángel
más hermoso. Brillaban
como aceros los ojos victoriosos,
y las sangrientas llamas
de su antorcha alumbraron
la honda cripta del alma.
—¿Vendrás conmigo? —No, jamás; las tumbas
—Vendrás conmigo… Y avancé en mi sueño
(poema de Antonio Machado)
|And he was the evil spirit of my dreams, the most handsome
of all angels. His victorious eyes
shot fire like pieces of steel,
and the flames that fell
from his torch like blood
lit up the deep dungeon of the soul.
“Would you like to come with me?” “No, never! Tombs
“You will come with me…” And in my dreams I walked
(translated by Robert Bly)
Eduardo Yagüe (GIFT Producciones) made this videopoem in 2014 as an homage to the great Spanish poet Antonio Machado on the 75th anniversary of his exile and death. Eduardo’s reading is exceptionally good, and slow-paced enough that even those with just a little bit of Spanish should be able to follow along. Music by Jared C. Balogh accompanies the voiceover.
I first learned this poem (number LXIII from Galerías) through Robert Bly’s translation (above) in Roots and Wings: Poetry from Spain 1900-1975. (Alan S. Trueblood also translated it for a bilingual edition of the selected poems, but not quite as effectively.)
A fascinating multimedia project from artist-poet Holly Corfield Carr. Her description on Vimeo:
A harbour travels around a line. The line travels around a boat. The boat travels around your body, star-jumping in the water’s private weather. Written through the rhythms of Bristol’s last shantyman, Stanley Slade, Aft is a sightseeing trip with the ferryman across Bristol’s Floating Harbour.
Commissioned by Spike Island with Bristol Ferry Boats as part of the Spike Open 2015.
Own binoculars and someone else’s obol recommended.
Carr goes into more detail about the project in a blog post:
I have to thank Spike Island and Bristol Ferry for commissioning this poem for Matilda, the Bristol Ferry boat that chugs brightly across the Floating Harbour from Temple Meads to Hotwells, via the city centre, Spike Island, Arnolfini and SS Great Britain. It was a proper joy of a project and thanks to the patience of the crew and passengers, I took several trips to watch the city from the water, standing at the back window, feeling the engine’s rhythm in my feet. I composed much of the poem on site, on the boat, measuring my line to the cm width of the window.
I started to listen to the sea shanties of the Bristol sailor Stanley Slade, which were recorded by Peter Kennedy in 1950 and are now held in the British Library’s sound archive, and let the length of the halyard’s lines also instruct the breath and breadth of the poem that was then transferred directly, in Bristol Ferry yellow, to the windows of Matilda.
At first, I saw the couplets banding around the cabin as a two-level Plimsoll line, a measure of the rising waters (or a sinking boat), or as a twin rope, each a precaution against the severance of the other. Certainly on the page, the poem presents its shortening of breath much more clearly and you can read the full text here.
But on the boat, it wasn’t all visible at once. Walking the line to read the poem across the wide windows, rocking back a little to read the second line from where the first line landed you, and all the while reading as the boat pulls you across the water, makes something knotty of the reader.
As you read, the city interrupts, aligns your reader’s attention with the sudden sight of mooning stags, lads! lads! lads! on tour, traffic on the bridge, seagulls lifting in the wake of another ferry, the train, kayaks and paddles and sunburned backs, a tiny flotilla of crisp packets.