Posts in Category: Spoken Word

The Confession: poetry and conversation with Yehia Jaber

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Lebanese poet Yehia Jaber discusses his beliefs about war and peace, God and poetry, and recites one example of his work in Arabic (with English in subtitles). The British/Iranian filmmaker Roxana Vilk got help from Maryam Ghorbankarimi (editing) and Pete Vilk (music and sound design).

Yehia Jaber is also a visual poet — see Everitte.org for a beautiful and easily comprehensible example of vispo/concrete poetry in Arabic calligraphy.

The Disappearing Line (selections) by Mark G. Williams

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Thare are Chapters 6, 8, 11, 20 and 21 of Mark G. Williams‘ erasure-poetry project The Disappearing Line, which he described in an email as follows:

These evolved from using white-out to turn junk mail into found poetry; currently and with these I used popular novels, working backwards from two such novels, one word at a time and making sure plenty of space separates my choices to avoid ‘stealing’ phrases, and working until I get 100-word sentences. I count on short-term memory loss and the use of the text of others to force out phrases and sentences that I likely would never have heard or written otherwise.

Chapter 20 was part of a display at the Los Angeles Center for Digital Art called Looking Forward: Ten Artists to Watch, from June 14–July 7, 2012. Watch all 30 chapters on Mark’s Vimeo channel.

Compromise by Steve Connell

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Gabriel Sunday directed. The description on Vimeo reads,

Steve Connell is a world-famous Spoken Word poet and performer. Faye Reagan is a world famous Porn Star.

Accept the truth of our times… embrace the Compromise.

That’s right: according to the Wikipedia, the actress usually known as Faye Reagan has performed in 174 adult films and one videopoem. For more on Connell, the Wikipedia also appears to be the best source.

Color of Home by Meena Alexander

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With spoken word videos, sometimes setting is everything. Ram Devineni filmed Alexander on the Highline in New York City for a Meena Alexander feature in Issue 3 of Ratapallax magazine. For more on the poet, visit her website.

When I Move by Khary Jackson

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I’ve posted a lot of dance + poetry videos and a lot of spoken word videos, but I believe this is the first in which the poet dances as he recites his poem. This was produced by the St. Paul, Minnesota-based organization Poetry Observed, which according to the description on YouTube “is committed to producing high quality videos of performance poetry, filmed off the stage. Our first series features Minnesota spoken word poets and was produced in collaboration with Button Poetry.”

IO game over by Sergio Garau

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This videopoem by Angelo Saccu, performed by Sergio Garau to music by Antonio Marra, betrays influences from all over: it’s equal parts concert video, sound poem and concrete/kinetic-text poem. I ran the YouTube description through Google Translate:

The violent encounter between political identities, economic, cultural, language here is staged through an ironic game of opposites. The ‘I’, translated into machine language 1 0 (zero), cut into pieces for binary digital misunderstood as grotesque chaos of contradictory slogans of contemporary power, explodes in a syncopated rhythm outside of himself. For tris doubly impossible breaks down the end of his world.

The Poem of the Spanish Poet by Mark Strand

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The latest release from Motionpoems, and the first of theirs, I think, to mix in some live footage of the poet alongside the animation (which is by Juan Delcan, who was responsible for the most popular of the Billy Collins animations, “The Dead.”). The text appears in Mark Strand’s latest book, Almost Invisible, which is a collection of prose pieces; the poem part of this video is the only lyric poem in the book.

By the way, if you join the Motionpoems free monthly email list, you get additional content which is not included on the website for some reason. This month’s installment expanded on the making of the video, and included some thoughts by Delcan and Strand:

For this motionpoem, filmmaker Juan Delcan shot live video of Mark Strand in his New York City apartment. He combined that video with drawings inspired by those of the Spanish poet Federico García Lorca. “I shot [Mark Strand] in 30 minutes and animated the piece in one afternoon,” Delcan told us. “Sometimes not having time to over-think it is the best.”

Delcan also spent time thinking about the purpose of the relatively new genre of poetry films. “I know there are a lot of purists that think that animating poetry is redundant and stops the reader from picturing its words in their own minds, and that the poem should be left alone. And in a lot of cases they may very well be right. But in the particular case of the poems I’ve worked on I feel they retrofeed each other, bringing it to a different genre.”

In response to the motionpoem, poet Mark Strand told us, “I liked the film’s simplicity, which is very much in keeping with the poem, or so it seems to me.”

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