Posts in Category: Performance Poetry

won’t you celebrate with me by Lucille Clifton

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Rest in peace, Lucille Clifton.

Warrior Woman Pantoum

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http://www.vimeo.com/8788339

You have to turn your sound up for this, but it’s worth it. The poem is “Voice,” by Lynn Thompson, and it serves as prologue to a marvelous solo dance choreographed by Anna Leo and performed by Bridget Roosa. Steve Everett composed the music (and uploaded the video to Vimeo). The poem was commissioned by the choreographer, as Thompson explains in a guest post for the Emory Dance blog:

When Anna Leo invited me to compose a poem for a solo dance entitled Warrior Woman Pantoum, I assumed the Malayan form (originally, pantun) would provide the structure for the poem. When I received the DVD of a rehearsal of the piece, however, it struck me that Anna’s choreography and Steve Everett’s feral musical score had fractured the regularized expectations that are a necessary aspect of that form. Traditionally, the pantoum is comprised of repeated, rhyming lines that create an echo in the listener’s ear; a feeling of taking four steps forward, then two back. However, Anna’s Warrior Woman earns her status by eschewing this expectation; by exploring the previously-unexplored so as to discover and establish her own way in the world. Thus, in writing “Voice,” I wanted to develop a pattern by repeating the active verb say while marrying that repetition to the dancer’s unpredictable curiosity and insistence on becoming.

Tsead Bruinja, Frisian poet

A short documentary about contemporary Frisian poet Tsead Bruinja from the German broadcasting company Deutsche Welle.

A video of Bruinja reciting one of his poems, “Darling no one knows about the previous lives,” with English subtitles. This is from Wyld Hynder (Wild Horse) films, according to the info on YouTube.

Here’s Bruinja reading a poem called “‘Sy wennet yn in baarnend hûs” — “She lives in a burning house.” This was produced by the Omrop Fryslân broadcasting company. Bruinja includes an English translation by David Colmer on the YouTube page:

she lives in a burning house
every storm takes a tile from the roof
it’s cold her teeth chatter
someone outside thinks up new rules for traffic
an old man cycles on
newspapers stuffed under his clothes
she walks out with a basket full of washing
black sheets black blankets black
pillowcase she sees the fields are burning too
no point in going out
it’s better back inside the walls
flames dancing on his portrait
letters fall unasked through the door
rustling down not reaching the mat her cat
jumps onto her lap with a vegetable desire
to be stroked she pours more meths
over the photo albums wipes
the ash from her glasses and reads
and reads and reads

Some more English translations of Bruinja’s work may be found on Poetry International Web, though according to the translators’ notes, they were based on the author’s own translations into Dutch. (Bruinja also writes and has published poetry in Dutch.)

Sea Things: poetry from the coasts of Australia

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I just discovered this delightful documentary.

Free Range Multimedia followed the last leg of the 2 month coastal poetry odyssey that was Sea Things. The brainchild of Sydney poetry organisation, The Red Room Company, the project sent two duffle bags along the west and east coasts of Australia to gather poetry of the sea by those who live on and around it.

For more information, see the Sea Things section of the Red Room Company website.

The Art of Disappearing by Naomi Shihab Nye

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Here’s a video slideshow adaptation that someone just uploaded to Vimeo, by Matthew Craft with the University of Baltimore’s Integrated Design MFA program.

Every Now is Everything by Rich Ferguson

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The poem and music are both by Los Angeles spoken word performer Rich Ferguson. This is one of the more inspired riffs on the “I’m from…” meme I’ve heard, and the directing, by Eric Smith and Ersellia Ferron, is very good. (Thanks to Khadija Anderson for the tip.)

The “I’m from…” meme, by the way, appears to have originated in a poetry workshop manual by George Ella Lyon called Where I’m From, Where Poems Come From, published in 1999 — here’s the title poem that served as a template. It was turned into a blog meme in 2005 by Fred First at the place blog Fragments from Floyd (post no longer online).

Anne Sexton at home

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I’m not sure of the original provenance of the footage, but these videos appear to have been taped from Spanish TV. According to the text at the beginning, the movie was made on March 10, 1966. Sexton reads “Menstruation at 40” in the first and “Wanting to Die” in the second, and talks about poetry reading styles, why music is better than poetry, and why death is harder to write about than sex.

Here’s another YouTube video incorporating rare footage of the poet: