Posts By Marie Craven

Writing by Charles Bukowski

From New Yorkers Fernanda Siqueira and Rodrigo Burdman, a film from the poem Writing by Charles Bukowski (1920-1994).

DATA by Andrés Pardo and Jorge Luis Borges

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DATA rewrites Funes el memorioso, first published in 1942, a short tale by the great Argentinian writer, Jorge Luis Borges (1899–1986). In making these notes about the video for Moving Poems, I have wondered how to credit the writing, and have elected to see it as a very contemporary kind of co-authorship, between the film-maker, Andrés Pardo, and Borges.

The film is a fusion of experimental cinema and videopoetry. The text is a poetic prose piece. Its subject is human history and its recording. Even more it is about physical traces. The film’s elements are in synchronicity.

A film-maker’s biography says this:

Andrés Pardo Piccone, Montevideo 1977, is a film editor, documentary filmmaker and film lab enthusiast. He releases in 2012 his debut documentary feature Looking for Larisa. His documentary work focuses on objects or situations that trigger stories of collective memory and its relationship to the creation of identity and community. He is fond of small film formats, black and white and Soviet cameras.

Pardo states elsewhere that he is better known as General Treegan.

DATA has been published at YouTube by the Institute for Experimental Arts in Athens, where it screened at the 2019 International Video Poetry Festival.

Here by Robert-Jonathan Koeyers

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Here is written and directed by Robert-Jonathon Koeyers, who describes it as:

an experimental visual poem combining video, photography, and animation to examine the lived Black experience and ultimately ask what it means to be ‘here’.

Additional animation was contributed by Lina Maldeikyte, Chellysia Christen, Mireille Kiesewetter, Sibel Vuap and Rebeka Mór.

Extensive artist notes on the piece are to be found at Koeyers’ website.

Patti Smith at the Punch and Judy Theater by Jim Daniels

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Patti Smith at the Punch and Judy Theater is the latest film from Matt Mullins, a collaboration with Michigan poet Jim Daniels.

Jim’s poem was inspired by the experience of seeing Patti Smith in the ’70’s at a small theater in the Detroit area. By coincidence, Matt went to the same theater to see movies as a child.

Since watching their film I’ve read Jim’s poem in print, and watched a live version of “Gloria” by Patti Smith.

For the film’s sound composition, Matt has sampled just the first powerful line of Patti’s voice in “Gloria”. In audio editing he rearranges the sung phrases to form a new, minimal, poem-song in itself. This is in sympathetic contrast to the printed words of Jim’s poem, which appear on the screen. It’s as if they are two poems side by side.

Matt says of his approach to making the piece: “It’s pretty raw intentionally as I was trying to catch that Patti Smith vibe.”

I find it hauntingly emotional, deep, original.

T.I.A. (THIS is Africa) by Ronan Cheneau

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Seattle’s Cadence Video Poetry Festival has kicked off for 2020. The event has been rapidly moved online this year, evolving with world circumstances. Each of the programs are being made available for viewing at any time during a series of 24-hour slots, from 15-19 April 2020. So far I have seen just the first program, Sight Lines, and was rewarded with some outstanding films.

To give readers a sense of the high quality of the programming, I am sharing T.I.A. (THIS is Africa). It is a collaboration between director Matthieu Maunier-Rossi and poet Ronan Cheneau. Congolese dancer and choreographer, Aïpeur Foundou, is a compelling, dancing presence throughout this moving film.

Tickets to the remaining four sessions of the festival are on a ‘pay as you can’ basis (from $0 upwards). See the Cadence website for more information.

Announcements of winners of the different competition categories are spread out over the five days, one or two revealed in the video intros at the start of each day’s program.

The Carpet by Ana Pantić

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This video poem is The Carpet, from Belgrade artist Ana Pantić. Ana wrote, voiced and performed in this personal piece, a film-making collaboration with Maja Djordjević, with music by Milan Bogdanović. Watching the film on high volume gave me the best experience of it.

Ana and I were at the Athens International Video Poetry Festival in Greece last December, where we met. The festival brought each of us in contact with other artists from around the world. Ana compellingly performed her work live on the last night.

She is an artist in a number of related creative modes, as well as a public speaker. Recently Ana appeared on Serbian TV, talking at length about international video poetry.

Árbol de Diana (Diana’s Tree) by Alejandra Pizarnik: three excerpts

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Dave writes: This is una mirada desde la alcantarilla / a glimpse from the gutter, the first Moving Poems production directed by Marie Craven. Alejandra Pizarnik‘s brief poems in Árbol de Diana and other collections have been a huge influence on my own writing, but I was never quite satisfied with the video I made back in 2016 for the excerpts included here. I did however like the translation and readings, done with the assistance of the London-based translator Jean Morris. They were part of the Poetry From the Other Americas series at Via Negativa, a collaborative translation project that gave rise to many of the films I wanted to feature in the Poesía sin fronteras screening at Houston last weekend. So I asked Marie, who hadn’t been part of that project, whether she might want to remix or completely re-do the film, and was delighted when she said yes.

The resulting film helped me see what might have been wrong with my own film: too few images, I think, and neither of them quite strong enough to keep up their end of a dialogue with these verses. Marie’s film shows the importance of thinking laterally, by instinct and rhythm. I was pleased that she ended up retaining my and Jean’s voiceovers; Jean’s success in evoking the vulnerable quality of Pizarnik’s own voice was a stand-out feature of our original film, I thought. But Marie’s re-interpretation ended up being a much stronger fit than that earlier effort would’ve been with the other films in the program.

Two Spanish filmmakers have also had a go at Pizarnik’s micropoetry: Eduardo Yagüe, with Piedras verdes en la casa de la noche, and Hernán Talavera, with Todo hace el amor con el silencio: tres poemas de Alejandra Pizarnik.

Marie writes: A few weeks ago, Dave Bonta invited me to participate in the “Poetry Without Borders” program at REELpoetry, by making a video remix of his 2016 piece, “A Glimpse from the Gutter”, from three poems by Argentinian poet Alejandra Pizarnik (1936-1972). Having previously made a number of films with Dave’s poetry, and being involved in some of his wider projects, I was keen to rise to the challenge.

Like the majority of Australians, I speak only the dominant English. Nonetheless, this is the sixth film I’ve made involving different languages. My interest in doing this has arisen in part from a personal impulse to in some way transcend the xenophobia and racism that has long been a lamentable aspect of my own geographically-isolated culture. Aside from this, and despite being in my late 50s, I retain a child-like wonderment that our single human species communicates in so many richly varied ways. In addition, my film-making over 35 years has been largely directed towards international audiences, via the film festival circuit, and now also the web, where poetry film has by far its greatest reach. I also simply love the expressive sounds of different languages as a kind of music.

Dave translated Pizarnik’s poems with advice and in discussion with Jean Morris, a poet and professional translator. Jean voiced the poems in Spanish, while Dave spoke them in English. For my film, I retained only the text and voices, which I re-arranged and mixed with new music and images. I have remained true to Dave’s impulse in his earlier piece to make a truly bilingual film, spoken in both Spanish and English, and therefore without the need for subtitles.

As in a number of my films, the raw images were sourced from Storyblocks, a subscription website with a vast library of short, random clips from videographers in many different countries. The collection of shots I selected were then transformed via changes to speed, light, framing and colour, and the addition of long dissolves that blend and juxtapose the images via superimposition.

Some of the images I selected touch on the literal meanings of the poems. These direct connections of image to text are sometimes seen at moments other than when they are spoken. The film also contains a number of shots that bear no direct relation to the words. My overall impulse was to create a series of moving images that might form a kind of visual poem in themselves, while remaining connected to the resonances I found in the text and in the qualities of the voices. The final visual element is a faintly-flickering overlay containing animated x-rays of human anatomy.

The music is an ambient piece by Lee Rosevere, who for several years has generously released much of his music on Creative Commons remix licenses, enabling film-makers and other artists to create new works incorporating his sounds. I chose this piece for its slow pace, beatlessness and meditative quality, that left room for the voices to take by far the greatest prominence.

I am delighted to have especially made this film for REELpoetry, where it had its world premiere.