Posts in Category: Interviews

Road to Damascus: Journey with a Syrian poet

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An anonymous Syrian poet muses on real terror versus sleep terrors:

The same man who is trying to shoot me is me. I have no face in the dream, I am the man and me. This horror of the dream stays long.

British filmmaker Roxana Vilk explains:

This film is one of three shorts I made during a week in Beirut in May 2011. The films were commissioned by Reel Festivals and Creative Scotland and the remit was make a series of short films “inspired by” the festival of poets. It was an amazing week, it’s not every day that you get to meet poets from Lebanon, Palestine, Syria and Scotland.

We were also meant to go to Damascus but as the political situation worsened that leg of the festival was cancelled. However, I still wanted to reflect the current situation in one of the films, so I interviewed one of the Syrian poets about his dreams. That was the starting point for this film.

Lenora de Barros: the challenge of working with sound in a society of images

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Lenora de Barros is a genre-crosser, a concrete poet and visual artist also working in film and audio. I was impressed that someone with such a strong background in the visual aspect of poetry would become so seduced by sound.

I searched for an example of her work on YouTube and found Encorpa (Embodies), a video made for an exhibition called The Overexited Body — Art and Sports. Lenora de Barros is credited with the sound on this piece along with Cid Campos. Brazilian filmmaker Grima Grimaldi directs.

Tomas Tranströmer

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This new film from Bloodaxe Books, one of Tranströmer’s English-language publishers, incorporates footage of the Nobel Prize announcement and the Tranströmers’ reaction, as well as footage of Tranströmer playing the piano which Pamela Robertson-Pearce had just shot in August. Robin Fulton’s translations appear as subtitles for the Swedish-language readings, which include “The Nightingale in Badelunda,” “Allegro,” “From the Thaw on 1966,” “The Half-Finished Heaven,” “April and Silence,” “From March 1979,” and “Tracks.” This is of course something that the film/video medium is particularly well suited for: it’s wonderful to hear the poet reading in Swedish and know (more or less) what he is saying.

Do read the extensive notes on the Vimeo page. The detail that “Swedish composers have written several left-hand piano pieces especially for him to play” speaks volumes about his status in his homeland. (Hat-tip: Teju Cole on Twitter)

Young David by Yehuda Amichai (with discussion by Edward Hirsch)

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http://vimeo.com/24221256

Avi Dabach’s marvelous film interpretation of Amichai’s “Young David” (translated by Abraham Birman) is wrapped within a video introduction and post-film discussion by Bob Holman and Edward Hirsh at the Bowery Poetry Club in New York City. Hirsch describes his own, elliptical approach to politics in poetry, and says that Amichai was his major influence and model in this regard.

Tree by Jane Hirshfield

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Hirshfield’s reading of “Tree” is preceded by a short but eloquent statement about the role of poetry in contemporary society that really resonated with me, as well as a few words about how she came to connect with poetry as a child. (Wish I could turn off the terrible background music, though!) This is from PlumTV. Like many prominent writers, Hirshfield doesn’t appear to have her own website, but here’s what the Poetry Foundation has for her.

Invisible Man by Amir Rabiyah

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Kevin Simmonds’ brief film is part interview, part reading. Simmonds is the editor of the forthcoming anthology Collective Brightness: LGBTIQ Poets on Faith, Religion & Spirituality, which includes this poem by Amir Rabiyah.

Fearless Laughter: Yusef Komunyakaa’s Advice to Young Poets

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A video created by Sampsonia Way magazine for Rattapallax. Komunyakaa was interviewed by Elizabeth Hoover, and the video production and editing are by Glen Wood.