In this new videopoem by Steven McCabe, the text is presented in silent-film-style title cards, and in three different versions in succession: the first in English, the second in French and the third in Spanish. (Pierre L’Abbé is credited with the French translation and Beatriz Hausner with the Spanish.) Especially for monolingual English viewers, it’s interesting that repetition does not necessarily lead to increasing familiarity, but rather a kind of defamiliarization. As with certain K-pop music video mega-hits on YouTube, not knowing what all the words mean can actually add to the charm of a short film sometimes.
Speaking of music: Brenda Joy Lem did the fantastic drumming in the soundtrack. In a blog post introducing the video, McCabe writes:
We originally filmed and recorded the drumming over two years ago for a different project which never saw the light of day. In the meantime I become interested in juxtaposing silent footage with live action. I realized we could use silent movie title cards for the poetry and not compete with the sound of drumming. The poem Transfiguration was originally published in my 1999 collection Radio Picasso (watershedBooks). My poetry videos can be found @ http://www.youtube.com/mccabesteven