Posts in Category: Videopoems

The Applicant by Sylvia Plath (3)

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A unique twist on the performance poetry video genre from my new favorite channel on Vimeo, Tootight Lautrec’s This Be the Verse.

Tootight Lautrec, the Drag Laureate of the sub-sub-sub basement at PS 75 The Emily Dickinson School, brings you poetry–often as a drag queen lip-sync from archival recordings of poets–This Be The Verse: Poetry for Adults.

This wouldn’t work if Lautrec weren’t very, very good at lip-syncing. In all the years I’ve been combing YouTube and Vimeo for poetry videos, I can’t remember anyone taking this approach before, let alone pulling it off with such panache.

This is the third video for “The Applicant” that I’ve shared here over the years. See also Josep Porcar’s video remix and Maggie Bailey’s interpretative dance.

You Are 6 Years Old and She is Teaching You How to Ride a Bicycle by Stephanie Dogfoot

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Stephanie Dogfoot is a performance poet with numerous slam championships in Singapore and the UK under her belt, but here filmmaker Sarah Howell of the Dream Bravely production company has made the unusual (for performance poetry) decision to focus not on the poet but on the poem, with salutary results. This is also a great example of how to use video to drive home the political message of a poem. It was made in collaboration with the Haque Centre of Acting & Creativity for “the August [2015] installment of their storytelling night Metaphors Be With You: Childhood Stories,” according to a blog post by Dogfoot. Michael Lim was the cinematographer, with music by Celer and Konrad Feucht.

This is one of the films in the Zebrino Competition at the upcoming ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival next week, and I need to give a tip of the hat to the ZEBRA Poetry Film Club channel on Vimeo, which has been adding films at a great rate in the build-up to the festival. I’ll be sourcing films from that channel for weeks to come, but if you can’t wait, go there now and gorge.

On Your ‘A 1940 Memory’ by Daljit Nagra

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This is Across Fields, a film by Tim Davies incorporating British poet Daljit Nagra‘s tribute to the great World War I poet Siegfried Sassoon, who fought in the Battle of the Somme, paired with “Site-responsive video recorded in and around the Bois de Mametz in the Somme Valley,” as the credits inform us. The poem and film were commissioned by a poetry project called Fierce Light:

Perhaps no art form captured the complexity and terror of the First World War more acutely than poetry. Drawing on their experiences, poets used their art to reflect on the war’s impact: from the horrors of the battlefield to the ways in which the conflict rendered a familiar world unrecognisable to those left living in it.

Fierce Light brought together leading poets from countries that participated in the First World War, including Yrsa Daley-Ward, Jackie Kay, Bill Manhire, Paul Muldoon and Daljit Nagra, to create new works that endeavour to understand the incomprehensible; exploring contemporary events while also contemplating the First World War. These works were presented alongside a series of specially commissioned short films, each made in response to the new poems and themes raised within them. […]

Launching with an exhibition and a special live event, Fierce Light featured the poets during the City of Literature programme at Norfolk & Norwich Festival, before the poems and films were presented on radio, at other literary festivals and online.

I have stolen everything by Abeer Hoque

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This is one of three short films by the New York-based filmmaker Josh Steinbauer based on poems by Nigerian-born Bangladeshi American writer and photographer Abeer Hoque, all from her book of linked stories, The Lovers and the Leavers (HarperCollins India, 2015). The third partner in this collaboration was the band Dragon Turtle Music, which supplied the soundtrack for each of these deceptively simple videopoems. Watch all three at (but be careful: it’s one of those annoying sites that sends you off into a new article if you scroll down too far).

The Damascene Collar of the Dove by Mahmoud Darwish

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This is In Damascus (في دمشق), a stunningly beautiful film by the Syrian filmmaker and motion graphic designer Waref Abu Quba. Here’s the description from Vimeo:

Winner | Outstanding Cinematography in the Autumn Shorts Film Festival, Somerset, Kentucky USA 2015.

Official Selection:
• ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival Münster|Berlin – 2016
• Arab Film Festival, San Francisco, CA – 2016
• 9th Annual Houston Palestine Film Festival – 2015
• Autumn Shorts Film Festival, Somerset, Kentucky USA – 2015

Watch In Damascus VFX Breakdown and read the description for technical Information about the film on this link.

This film is about Damascus, an 11,000 years old city, the most ancient & precious of cities, set to the poetry of the world famous Palestinian poet / author Mahmoud Darwish.

More than three years have passed since the idea inception up to this moment. This project was my companion during my staying abroad, it was like a friend and an enemy at the same time, sometimes I spend hours working on it, and sometimes I leave it for months.
Now after two months of heavy work, I’ve finished it, and I would like to present it to you … I hope you like it.

Be sure to watch it on the largest screen you have.

Subterranean Homesick Blues by Bob Dylan

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This clip from D. A. Pennebaker‘s 1967 documentary Don’t Look Back remains an innovative, proto music video. Poetry-film expert Alice Lyons included it in her list of “Ten Films to Look at When You Want to Think About Poetry and Film.”

Primera magnitud / First magnitude by Josep Porcar

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An author-made, bilingual videopoem by the Catalan poet Josep Porcar, using as a text the first poem from his new collection, Nectari. (There are also versions in German and Spanish, as well as the original.) Porcar has been making video remixes for other people’s poems for years now; this is the first I can remember with one of his own poems. The translation here is by Isabel Prieto, the music by Max Richter, and the footage by Uzay Sezen. (As a plant geek, I was pleased that the passion flower is identified in the credits, including the Latin binomial.)