Posts in Category: Performance Poetry

National Service (with added talky bits) by Luke Wright

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British performance poet Luke Wright notes on YouTube,

Four months into my six month driving ban I’m getting nostalgic about motorway service stations. I miss rating my toilet experience.

This very basic video shot with a stationary camera is rendered thoroughly engrossing by Wright’s entertaining performance and the innovative (though deliberately not seamless) co-mingling of rhyming poetry and explication.

Winning by Jade Anouka

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A new performance poetry video from director Sabrina Grant and actor and poet Jade Anouka, with original music by Grace Savage.

Subh-e-Azadi / The Dawn of Freedom by Faiz Ahmed Faiz

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Sabina England’s expressive ASL translation of the great Urdu poet’s poem about the 1947 Partition of India and Pakistan. Be sure to click the CC icon to get the subtitles, and choose either Spanish (translation by Sabina England and Alberto Hernandez) or English (translation by Agha Shahid) by clicking on the settings icon. England notes that ‘The poem is recited by Naseeruddin Shah, a famous Indian actor, from the movie “Firaaq” (2008).’

Bela noć! (apokaliptične uspavanke) / White Night! (apocalyptic lullaby) by Goran Živković Gorki

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Serbian slam champion Goran Živković Gorki, “the first homeless man on the Moon,” performs in a film by Dragana Nikolić. Đorđe Vić translated it into English for the subtitles. The poem appears in Gorki’s forthcoming collection Psihoslajdovi (The Psychoslides).

Never Too Late by Malcolm London

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Just in time for Thanksgiving, a meditation on the power of family, community and love from Chicago-based poet Malcolm London and filmmaker Caves for Heart Of The City TV, in collaboration with Irish graffiti artist Maser. It was posted to YouTube in December 2013 with this description:

Chicago met Dublin a little over a month ago when we linked with Malcolm London and renowned Irish graffiti artist Maser for their “Never Too Late To Love” collaborative mural. Today, we drop the visuals. Enjoy.

If you’d like to check out the mural go to La Baguette Bakery’s alley on 2109 S Ashland Ave (at 21st St).

I looked up Malcolm London today because he’s in the news, but unfortunately not in a good way: he’s one of five activists who were arrested by Chicago police last night for what sounds very much like the usual trumped-up bullshit used by American police to punish people for exercising their constitutional rights to free speech and assembly:

One of the five protesters arrested in the Loop in the hours after the release of the Laquan McDonald video is an aspiring poet who has garnered national attention and was one of the organizers of the march.

Malcolm London, 22, of the 4900 block of West Huron in the Austin neighborhood, was charged with aggravated battery to a police officer, a felony, after he allegedly struck a cop, according to the Police Department.

He faces the most serious charge of those arrested during the demonstration, which lasted for hours and briefly stopped traffic on the Eisenhower Expressway.

London is accused of striking an officer in the 100 block of East Balbo Drive as police blocked protesters from marching across the bridge. He is scheduled to appear in bond court later Wednesday.

Supporters have created a Free Malcolm London hashtag and have urged people to call police to demand that he be released.

“He was just standing there and the police snatched him up,” tweeted the Black Youth Project 100, which organized Tuesday night’s march. London is listed as a co-chair of the organization’s Chicago chapter.

London is a member of the Young Adult Council of the Steppenwolf Theater and appeared on PBS for a TED Talk with John Legend and Bill Gates. In 2011, he won the Louder Than A Bomb youth poetry slam in his Chicago, according to a biography on his website.

In 2012, just graduated from Lincoln Park High School, London talked to the Tribune about growing up in Austin and how it affected his work.

“There are a lot of kids like me in places like this, places kind of pushed into the shadows by the people who run this city,” he said. “We have stories to tell, stories not told in the news and media. I am getting the chance to tell mine, and others can too.”

In September of that year, he made his national television debut in “Verses & Flow,” a series that features musical and poetry performances.

(Read the rest.) Three of the five activists are charged only with “resisting police officer,” which is one clear sign that this is B.S. Follow the #FreeMalcolmLondon hashtag on Twitter for updates. Please consider helping Malcolm and the other arrested activists raise money for their bond so they can get home for Thanksgiving. And be sure to visit Malcolm’s website for more videos of him performing his poetry.

UPDATE (25 Nov., 7:56 PM): The charges against Malcolm London were dropped and he was released this afternoon.

[A]fter an outcry from fellow activists, who said London did not hit an officer and was standing peacefully when he was targeted by police and arrested, the charges against London were dismissed Wednesday afternoon.

The Colors We Ascribe by Emi Mahmoud

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Death loves my people, the way they fall asleep at its feet…

Sudanese-American poet Emtithal “Emi” Mahmoud is originally from Darfur, and is now a senior at Yale. She was crowned the 2015 Individual World Poetry Slam (iWPS) Champion on October 10, and has just been featured in The Guardian: “Darfur poet triumphs in international poetry slam.” Here she is performing at the National Poetry Slam in a video from Button Poetry, a Minnesota-based organization that “produces and distributes poetry media, including: video from local and national events, chapbooks, collaborative audio recordings, scholarship and criticism, and many other products.” On YouTube, they release a new poetry video every day.

Click through to the Guardian to read “Mama,” the poem with which Mahmoud won the iWPS championship.

Fifth Avenue by Hasan Mujtaba

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Oh my beloved country
When I sing of your separation
I return to myself
But all I hear in return,
Is the language of guns…

A poetry film in the style I like to think of as illustrated spoken word—a style that works particularly well for poems that blend the personal and the political. Sofian Khan of Capital K Pictures directed. Here’s the Vimeo description:

An exiled Pakistani poet finds fresh inspiration in his new home, while reflecting on the tragedy of partition that has left a legacy of war and strife in his beloved land. Fragments of a globalized world seem to coalesce here on fifth avenue, strung together in the poet’s mind.

Directed by Sofian Khan / Cinenmatography – Bob Blankemeier / Original Score – Joshua Green / Sound + Mix – Evan Manners / Animation – Will Clark / Makeup – Jackie Push / Starring – Arik Hartman

The English translation is by Annie Ali Khan. I couldn’t find a website for Hasan Mujtaba, but he’s active on Twitter.

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