Two poems by Hisham Bustani

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Arwa’ Debaja filmed and edited this documentary-style poetry film of the Jordanian poet Hisham Bustani for the UK’s Poetry Society. Here’s their description on Vimeo, with a link added:

In this powerful film, Jordanian poet Hisham Bustani reads in Arabic his poems, ‘The Maestro’ and ‘Night’. The English translations of the poems by Thoraya El-Rayyes are shown as subtitles. The poems first appeared in the winter 2017 issue of The Poetry Review magazine from The Poetry Society, and the film was premiered at the launch of the winter issue in January 2018. Filmed and edited by Arwa’ Debaja, the project is a collaboration with The Poetry Society and Seven Mountains Media. © Hisham Bustani, Thoraya El-Rayyes, Arwa’ Debaja, Seven Mountains Media and The Poetry Society, 2017.

(I hate to preempt the Poetry Society’s possible sharing of the video on their own website, but it’s not clear whether or how often they still update their poetry film page. Last year’s National Poetry Competition filmpoems are still nowhere to be found.)

Про форму / Concerning Form by Yurii Andrukhovych

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This is Love Mykolaiv if you dare (Закохайся в Миколаїв, якщо насмілишся) by Ukrainian director Angie (Anzhela) Bogachenko, featuring actors Zoryana Tarasyuta and Denis Shvetsov and a poem by the prominent Ukrainian writer Yurii Andrukhovych called “Concerning Form”, with Roman Reznik’s English translation in the subtitles. Visit Poetry Film Live for the full text and background on the film (including bios of Bogachenko and Andrukhovych). Here’s the summary:

The film introduces viewers to the architecture and the ‘peculiarities’ of life in Mykolaiv. Angie Bogachenko says: “We love our city, but over the years it loses shape. How can it be corrected? Imagine that you found a magic music box, which is able to change any of the drawbacks.”

How To Love Your Introvert by Kevin Yang

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Performance poet Kevin Yang’s poem in a film directed and edited by Vokee Lee, who writes:

The narrative in this music/poem video expresses the thoughts and feelings of being lost, lonely, the comfort of being in your own bubble, all the while the poem is meant to express a possible love letter to an ex-wife/lover/girlfriend. The video and poem itself is meant to be an awakening of “loving & finding”[.]

Aeryn Austin-Elbaz stars, and Ricardo Vasquez—not Kevin Yang—is the narrator. This is part of a short series of spoken word films produced by Motionpoems last year between its regular Seasons 6 and 7.

For those who want to hear and see the poet’s own interpretation, here’s the super popular video (712k views) from Button Poetry:

The Fauvist In Spring by Daniel Cockrill

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Poetry by the UK performance poet Daniel Cockrill animated by Richard Jackson (Plume Animation) with music by Julian Ward. Jackson does a marvelous job of expanding and extending the images in the texts, connecting what appear to be two separate poems, and concluding with a purely visual epilogue after the credits. Uploaded to Vimeo six years ago, it came to my attention just the other week when it was shared on YouTube by Muddy Feet Poetry.

This is one of at least four animations that Cockrill and Jackson have collaborated on. I see too that both of Cockrill’s books with Burning Eye have been produced collaboratively with visual artists: Sellotaping Rain to My Cheek with the cartoonist Tony Husband, and In The Beginning Was The Word, Then A Drawing, Then More Words, Another Drawing, And So On, And So On with illustrator Damien Weighill. Very cool.

Standard Time by Daniela Seel

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I was excited to see this film become available on the web last week, because it’s the one my jury mates and I chose as winner of the Weimar Poetry Film Award last year. Filmmakers Hanna Slak and Lena Reinhold adapted a text by the contemporary German poet Daniela Seel. Here’s the statement we released last May:

Standard Time is a timeless, self-referential meditation on the power of communication to transmute and, at times, distort. Its flawless blend of text, sound and images suggests a worldview both deeply rooted and universal, shamanistic and apophatic. It does what all great poems should do in suggesting more than it says and leaving the viewer’s mind abuzz with creative energy and new ideas. Addressing the poetic possibilities of time as it does, it can almost be seen as a film about poetry film itself.

I wrote all about our judging process in “2nd Weimar Poetry Film Award: A view from the jury.” Much more recently, the folks at Weimar have come out with a very effective video collage of interviews and other shots from the festival. And they’d probably like me to remind you that submissions to the 2018 award are still open until the 31st.

Cry of the Loon by Kai Carlson-Wee

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An author-made poetry film by Kai Carlson-Wee that was a runner-up in the 2016 Button Poetry Video Contest.

It occurred to me as I re-watched this that the opening sequence of loons calling with the title superimposed is a great example of a circumstance in which it makes sense to break the rule against straight-forward illustration in video- or filmpoetry: so few people nowadays can be assumed to know what a loon call sounds like, and it’s really helpful to know that if you want the full, melancholy effect of the poem. And I like how the images in the film and the text slowly diverge over the next couple of minutes: an uncoupling that seems appropriate for a poem about memory and mortality. Finally we reach the ending sequence — back out on the water with the loons — and learn that the filmpoem is For Roald Carlson (1925-2015). Beautifully done (and a good mate to the in memoriam filmpoem by George and Eleanor Hooker that I posted on Wednesday).

This is a traveling song by Kate Greenstreet

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An author-made videopoem by Kate Greenstreet. As always, she was assisted by Max Greenstreet, listed in the credits as “right hand”. The text is poem #7 in her latest book from Ahsahta Press, The End of Something (where the poems rather than the pages are numbered), and the soundtrack incorporates the 7th track in Greenstreet’s EP drawn from the book, birds in the house. The video first appeared in Typo 28.

The End of Something is, by the way, a beautifully designed book which I read last month with great enjoyment, savoring the openness of the poems, full of imaginative leaps and half-unspoken truths that induce a kind of contemplative mood. This quality makes them ideal for multimedia adaptation, I think. Watch all four of the videopoems from the book, and download the EP, on the book’s website.

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