Posts in Category: Videopoems

Not My Home by José Orduña

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An author-made videopoem by Mexican-American writer José Orduña from the Winter/Spring 2016 issue of Triquarterly (where it’s described as a video essay). This is the first issue with videos chosen and introduced by the new video editor, nonfiction writer and illustrator Kristen Radtke. Here’s what she wrote about “Not My Home”:

In “Not My Home,” José Orduña explores negation. He invites us inside intimate images of a single home—shoes by the door, a stuffed animal on an unmade bed, pencil lines up the wall marking children’s growth. These images are repeated even as the narrator tells us over and over again that the home is not his, that the memories do not belong to him and neither does this story. Yet we as viewers get the feeling he knows this house better than anyone has ever known a home before, and that perhaps that knowledge is exactly why he needs to go about negating it—it is, in a sense, a haunting. Just the slight unease of a subtle breeze, or a motion in the corner of your field of vision, is the sense of a ghost. Orduña’s very short video clips create gorgeous moving snapshots of a disembodied life: Grass twitches. Light shimmers on a teapot. His slow, melancholic images make us ache for the space as much as his narrator seems to.

Click through to watch the other two video essays Radtke chose. I’m pleased to see that the magazine still leads off with its video selections, though I hope that the absence of videos identified as “cinepoetry” is only temporary. (Perhaps they just aren’t getting enough submissions.)

Envoi by Hugo Claus

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Claus’s poem is adapted to film by his fellow Belgian Marc Neys AKA Swoon. The poet’s reading is courtesy of Lyrikline and the English translation is by John Irons. Marc used footage by Jan Earala, but everything else—concept, music, editing—are his own.

Marc told me recently that he’s moving away from writing process notes, preferring to let the films speak for themselves, as witnessed by his new, stripped-down, portfolio-style website. Last year, he made a pair of films for another Claus poem, “Halloween,” the second one also using footage from Jan Earala. Here’s hoping that more Hugo Claus filmpoems might be in the offing.

The Meeting Ran Long by Eric Blanchard

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A new, text-on-screen-style videopoem by Australian artist Marie Craven using a text by American poet Eric Blanchard and sections of three hand-processed, experimental films. Craven recently shared some process notes as a part of a blog post about her recent videopoetry remixes.

After putting together a first videopoem last year based on the poetry of Eric Blanchard, I went exploring more of his writing to be found on the web. I was especially drawn to a prose poem called ‘The Meeting Ran Long‘, published in Literary Orphans. The piece created for me a sense of daydreaming in an empty room in a transitional moment of solitude, evoking a short stream from the unconscious mind. I started experimenting with how I might present this as text on screen and settled on simply deconstructing the written piece into component phrases that might reveal or give rise to new resonances in the unconscious spaces of the writing itself. Once I had transferred all the text to the screen, I cut the visual phrases to an experimental music piece by C.P. McDill, a sound artist whose work I have followed and admired since about 2008. The track, ‘Iced Coffee‘, was sourced from The Internet Archive, where it is freely available for remixing on a Creative Commons licence. For the images I went to Vimeo and did some searches on key words in their large pool of videos also available for remixing via Creative Commons. I discovered the work of the Mono No Aware group and selected three hand-processed films by Rachael Guma, Ashley Swinnerton and David Beard. Aside from being wonderful experimental film pieces in themselves, each flowed in a kinetic way that reminded me of the pace of thoughts, memories and images as they flow through a human brain. I put these together with a universal film leader from an old vaudeville show to come up with a first draft of the video. I then sent it to the poet to ask his permission to proceed with a final version. Eric kindly agreed. After a little reworking, this is the video that emerged.

Pearls by Chaucer Cameron

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An author-made videopoem by Chaucer Cameron that was sparked by an image in a Swoon videopoem. Pearls was recently featured at Atticus Review, accompanied by some process notes:

Symbolically, Pearls provides a vehicle for wisdom as well as providing a mirror in which to see ourselves, giving us insight into how we appear to others.

In a more literal sense, the “Mother” in the poem is on a mission to ‘find herself’ through some pearls that she thinks are hidden in the rocks. Her son, who is watching from down below, is trying desperately to communicate, to gain her attention, her love. In fact, he is trying to tell her that she already has pearls, if only she could see them.

The first line of the poem was inspired by a poetry-film on Moving Poems site, so it seemed appropriate to explore my text further through film. I sent the poem to Voiceover Artist and Broadcaster David Wartnaby. A few weeks later, I found exactly the right footage, music and sound and the poetry-film fell into place.

A Dream Within a Dream by Edgar Allan Poe

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Poe’s 1849 poem in a 2014 adaptation by Catalonian poet Josep Porcar with cinematography by Tomás Baltazar, a voiceover by Tom O’Bedlam and a Catalan translation by Txema Martínez Inglés in subtitles. The actor is Luis Carvalho.

Message4u by Cecelia Chapman and Jeff Crouch

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Artists Cecelia Chapman and Jeff Crouch have collaborated on a number of videos over the years, some of which — like this one — can be seen as videopoems. The soundtrack is by Halo Svevo, and Christa Hunter appears in the video along with footage from 1956 film On Guard! by IBM. There’s also a small folded book and CD.

Message4u is a video and folding book based on email conversations between myself and Jeff Crouch about knowledge, democracy, technology and the computer and oracle as repositories of knowledge and prediction.

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Noman’s Land Common by Robert Peake

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A new videopoem by Robert Peake (poem, concept) and Valerie Kampmeier (original music). With all the thousands of poetry videos I’ve watched over the years, I’ve never seen someone use footage shot through a kaleidoscope before—leave it to an endlessly inventive tech geek and poet like Peake to come up with it. I find the effect mesmerizing and an apt complement to the text. As usual, he’s posted the poem at his blog, along with some process notes:

With the tenth anniversary of the birth and death of our son James fast approaching, I find myself writing about the ongoing effects, including sudden and overpowering moments of grief. The text came first. I then shot time-lapse of clouds through an inexpensive toy kaleidoscope using a Raspberry Pi camera. I also shot real-time nature footage through the same kaleidoscope by holding it up to my smartphone camera. Valerie composed and performed the music. The title refers to a nearby patch of common land in North Hertfordshire that we frequent. One year, after extensive tilling, a field adjacent to the common erupted in red poppies, not unlike the no-man’s land of the First World War.

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