Posts in Category: Animation

When it Comes to Marching by Bertolt Brecht

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A brief animation of a poem from Brecht’s A German War Primer by Andrea Malpede AKA Andrea Nocive, who notes in the Vimeo description:

I’ve always found Bertolt Brecht’s words strong and full of love.
In this animation I tried to give life to his powerful concept.

Restriction Site Poetics by Jason Brennan

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A wonderful, too-short animation by Australian artist and former research scientist Nicholas Kallincos. He says on Vimeo that it’s an “Experimental mixed media animation made in collaboration with UK spoke word poet, Jason Brennan in 2005. Soundtrack by Cornel Wilczek”.

It could be my Google-fu just isn’t very good today, but I’m not able to find anything about Brennan online aside from this.

When a Wiggly-Monster Was My World by David Olimpio

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An animated poem with text and voiceover by David Olimpio and animation and direction by Efrat Dahan. It was made as part Moving Words, a project from the New Jersey-based organization ARTS By The People pairing American writers with animators from the Shenkar School of Engineering and Design in Tel Aviv. The international premiere of the 2017 animations in Tel Aviv has already happened (August 11), but the US premiere is still up-coming on Sept. 9 at Drew University. (Reserve tickets.) Olimpio told me in an email:

What ABTP is trying to do with the “Moving Words” project is to not only make these stand-alone animation pieces, but also to integrate them with live performances. Here’s the video of me performing this piece live at the Animix Animation Festival in Tel Aviv, where this animation was one of many featured the day before.

Integrating multimedia with live readings is something poets don’t do nearly enough, in my view, and I’ve also long felt that there ought to be more efforts to get university film and animation students to collaborate with poets, so I was excited to learn about Moving Words. (I also really like their name, for some reason.)

Colour Poems by Margaret Tait

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A classic poetry film by the Scottish filmmaker and poet Margaret Tait (1918-1999). It’s one of “Five Filmpoems: Curated by Susannah Ramsay” in the first issue of an online journal dedicated to “exploring and showcasing the milieux, methods and madnesses of contemporary poetry in all its emergent myriad forms,” All These New Relations. Ramsay has this to say about Colour Poems:

Margaret Tait was known as a filmpoet and experimental filmmaker. Her approach to filmmaking was remarkably similar to the ethos of the avant-garde, generally self-funded, non-conformist, uncompromising, non-commercial, with distribution and exhibition being select. I think Colour Poems (1974) depicts some of the more thought provoking images within her oeuvre. There is a wonderful poetical moment, which begins with the poppy fields where Tait questions the true essence of the image through juxtaposing shots of the Scottish oil industry and related capitalist iconography and a sequence of images relating to a return to the earth. Nature is brought into being through spoken word. The narrator willing the viewer to look beyond what can be seen, to ‘look into all that is illuminated by the light’ […] ‘the own person’s own self perceiving the light and making the music’ suggesting that we are the beholders of (our) true vision.

It is an Intensely Private Experience by Danica Depenhart

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This brilliant, author-made stop-motion animation is featured in the latest issue of TriQuarterly. “Found materials do the heavy lifting of visual argument to demonstrate how repurposed materials might reveal something about the person who finds them,” as TriQuarterly‘s video editor Sarah Minor puts it.

It’s good to see that the 152nd issue of this venerable American literary magazine continues in the pattern set since its move to the web several years ago, leading off with a short video section introduced by its own essay. The fact that they seem to have dropped the term “cinepoetry” and call everything a “video essay” now is puzzling, but may simply reflect a shift in fashion among the MFA-led American literary establishment, where it must’ve gotten a huge boost by the bestseller status of Claudia Rankine’s Citizen, which includes the transcripts of several video essays from the ongoing “Situations” series filmed in collaboration with John Lucas. The rise of creative nonfiction as a component of MFA programs may also have played a role. But even outside high literary culture, the video essay has certainly become a fashionable genre on both sides of the Atlantic, even if there appears to be little agreement on what it means (that sounds familiar).

At any rate, be sure to visit Triquarterly Issue 152 to watch the other two, er, non-narrative videos by Annelyese Gelman and Spring Ulmer. To learn more about video essay as a genre, this video about essay films by film critic Kevin B. Lee, from a recent opinion piece in Sight&Sound magazine, seems like a good place to start:

Dark Place by Lucy English

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As her ambitious Book of Hours has unfolded, it’s been fascinating to watch Lucy English‘s poetry evolve and adapt to the online video medium and to the exigencies of particular film-making styles. Here’s how Stevie Ronnie, her collaborator for this film (along with composer Jim Ronnie), describes their process at Vimeo:

Lucy and I wanted to try something different as a way of kick starting the collaborative process for Dark Place. It started from a desire to work on something that was going to become part of Lucy’s Book of Hours poetry film project. Poetry films often begin with the words or footage or sound but we decided to start from a colour palette. I created a palette and sent it to Lucy and she wrote the poem from the colours. Lucy then sent me a couple of drafts of the poem and, after spending some time digesting Lucy’s words, I decided to respond to it visually. Using the colours that I found in Lucy’s poem I rendered the poem as a painting, where each mark on the canvas represents a letter in the poem. I then captured this process as a series of still images which have been strung together into the film. The soundtrack, performed by my father Jim Ronnie, was composed and added during the video editing phase as a response to the poem’s images and the words.

The Inexplicable Hardness of Things by Ian Gibbins

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Ian Gibbins calls this “a poem about a train journey, with a video to match.” It was recently featured in the Canberra-based web journal Verity La — go there for the text of the poem, as well as a current bio of the poet-filmmaker.

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