Posts in Category: Miscellaneous

Kot w pustym mieszkaniu / Cat in an Empty Apartment by Wisława Szymborska

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Another selection from the performance “Nothing Twice” (Live Performers Meeting, Rome, May 2012) directed by Agnieszka “Bronka” Bronowska. The translation is credited to Stanisław Barańczak and Clare Cavanagh and the performers are Joanna Łacheta and Lulu Lucyfer.

Wszelki wypadek / Could Have by Wisława Szymborska

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Be sure to expand this to full-screen. It’s one of several videos of Szymborska poems directed by Agnieszka Bronowska featuring Polish sign language performers, all from a longer presentation called “Nothing Twice.” I’m not entirely sure I understand the relationship between the video and the live performance, but here are the complete notes from Vimeo:

A part of the performance “Nothing Twice” (to be premiered during Live Performers Meeting in Rome, May 2012).

Directed by: Agnieszka “Bronka” Bronowska

Music: Dave Evans

Video and visual effects: Agnieszka Bronowska

Performers (video): Joanna Łacheta (feat. Sandeep Patil, Senbo Xiao, Dave Evans, Jozef Ivanecky, Johannes Wagner, Jing Zhou, Ilona Baldus, and Wolfgang Müller)

Performers (live): Agata Jurkiewicz, Agnieszka Bronowka, VJ Emiko, and Dave Evans

Piano and sound engineering: Dave Evans

Vocals (spoken word): Agnieszka Bronowska

The poem (“Wszelki wypadek” by Wisława Szymborska) was translated into English by Stanisław Barańczak and Clare Cavanagh.

Credits: Thanks to Joanna Łacheta, Bartosz Marganiec, and Foundation for the Promotion of Deaf Culture “KOKON” for a great meritoric support and assistance in Polish Sign Language interpretation of Wisława Szymborskaʼs poetry.

Tom Konyves on the making of a videopoetry manifesto

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Tom’s presentation at Visible Verse Festival 2011, held at the Cinémathèque Pacifique in Vancouver, November 4-5, 2011. Do set aside half an hour to watch this.

We’re living at an amazing point in time as far as this particular genre [videopoetry] is concerned. It is so new. It can make you feel like you’re living in the 1920s, when the great art revolutions were taking place.

As many regular visitors to this site are probably aware, Tom Konyves coined the term “videopoetry” back in the 1970s and has played a strong role in shaping its conception, at least among avant-garde poets. It’s not necessary to have first read his new videopoetry manifesto, but this certainly helps to introduce and contextualize it.

You don’t have to be an avant-garde poet to appreciate Tom’s points about, for example, the subversion of narrative expectations or the importance of poetic juxtaposition in a videopoem. But what’s especially appealing about this talk to me is what it reveals about Tom’s careful and methodical thought process, his essential generosity and his openness to opinions contrary to his own — qualities not normally associated with authors of manifestos, as he acknowledges:

In writing a manifesto, you tend to be very polemic, you tend to say that this is the only way to look at works, but I came across this quote from genre theorist Richard Cole, who wrote: “The phrase ‘tyranny of genre’ is normally taken to signify how generic structures constrain individual creativity. If genre functions as a taxonomic classification system, it could constrain individual creativity.” So I was concerned about that, that what I had to say about videopoetry may have that kind of effect.

Watch the talk, and then check out the manifesto on Issuu. Also, the earlier Poem Film Manifesto by Ian Cottage, which Tom mentions around 12:50 in Part 1 above, may be read at Cottage’s blog.

“Bound is a Boatless Woman”: tribute to Látra-Björg

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Neither a filmpoem nor a bio pic in the conventional sense, this six-minute film by Lisa Castagner, an artist from Northern Ireland, invokes the life and spirit of a fierce, 18th-century Icelandic poet I’d not previously heard about. Google Translate isn’t much help in deciphering the Icelandic Wikipedia page, except to impart the information that her given name was Björg Einarsdóttir, and “Látra-Björg” means something like “Trees, Boulders.” Fortunately, Castager’s description at Vimeo is a bit more helpful:

The title originates from a Viking proverb ‘Bundinn er bátlaus maðu’, meaning ‘Bound is a boatless man’. Likewise, a woman without a boat is a prisoner.

Látra-Björg was an 18th Century outcast fisherwoman who wrote poems believed to cast spells on those who crossed her. Fisherwomen were required to wear their skirts regardless of practicality, so they often defied the law and removed them at sea. Látra-Björg lived and died a beggar in an isolated northern fjord of Iceland during the ‘Mist Famine’ which forced many to emigrate to Canada.

I made the piece as an imaginative interpretation of Látra-Björg’s poetry and story while I stayed in that part of Iceland; her most well-known poem is ‘Fagurt er i Fjörðum’ (‘Tis fair in the fjords), a verse describing the beauty of the fjords when the weather is fair, until the extreme hardships of the winter, ‘when man and beast must die’.

Cloth by Kate Greenstreet

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This video essay on poetics by Kate Greenstreet is itself very poetic in its use of metaphors, intuitive leaps and interesting visual juxtapositions. It features Carrie Lincourt, and credits Max Greenstreet for “second camera and second opinion.” “Cloth” was produced for Evening Will Come: A Monthly Journal of Poetics (Issue 8: August 2011).

poetry by Laura Theobald

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An homage to the Gray Lady of American poetry magazines.

Death By Water (art installation)

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The artist, identified only by his Vimeo handle miaoniu, explains that the installation is so rigged that when anyone approaches it, the “Death By Water” section of “The Waste Land” is dunked into a tank of water, and slowly rises when the audience departs. “As time passed by the poem will dissolve and disappear finally.”

Call me simple-minded, but I love the literalism here. I only wish the video included a time-lapse segment so we could watch the wasting of “The Waste Land.”