American poet Max Ritvo‘s death of cancer at 25 was widely mourned on social media last week. As the New York Times noted, much of his work was devoted to chronicling his struggle with Ewing’s sarcoma, which he contracted at 16. The above video is one of a pair of animations by Nate Milton produced to accompany an NPR podcast, as the YouTube description explains:
Ritvo visited the Only Human podcast for the second time during what he called his “farewell tour”. His debut collection, “Four Reincarnations” will be published later this year. Listen to the episode here: http://www.wnyc.org/story/max-ritvo/
See also the other animation, “Poem to My Litter.”
Sound poetry and concrete poetry elude most efforts at translation — except for translation into videopoetry, as in this new release from Ottar Ormstad, Taras Mashtalir and Alexander Vojjov. I’m sure knowing Norwegian would add layers of meaning but even without that, I found the visualization of names as planetary objects or one-celled organisms intriguing and delightful. Here’s the Vimeo description:
NAVN NOME NAME (2016) is based on Ottar Ormstad’s “telefonkatalogdiktet” (‘the phonebook poem’). It is his third book of concrete poetry, published in Norway by Samlaget (2006). For this language research project, Ormstad read (!) the phonebook of Oslo 2004 and selected names on a poetic basis. In the book, the names are presented visually as concrete poetry. Most of the names are strongly connected to Norwegian and describe phenomena in nature.
NAVN NOME NAME is the second work of a collection of video poems created by the Norwegian-Russian duo OTTARAS (Ottar Ormstad and Taras Mashtalir) in collaboration with Russian video artist Alexander Vojjov. In the video, Ormstad reads names selected by the Russian-American composer Mashtalir. Through this work, Norwegian language turns into international sound poetry. Ormstad’s collection of family names present in Oslo’s phonebook at the time of reading are exposed and read by the author while performing to Mashtalir’s pulsating music. Is everyone connected to each other in the sphere that is shaping before the viewer’s eyes? How do names and language relate to the atmospheric scapes Vojjov creates of numbers, geometric forms and abstract shapes?
NAVN NOME NAME exists in different versions made for screening and live performance. Raising awareness of electronic poetry and sonic ecology, attracting new audience to a potent yet to come genre is the inspiration for this collaboration.
The video is produced in HD 16:9 in color, stereo.
Duration: 06:05 mins
Animation: Alexander Vojjov
Music: Taras Mashtalir
Concrete poetry, voice & production: Ottar Ormstad
© Ottar Ormstad 2016
In response to extracts from Sean O’ Brien’s same-titled poem, ‘Hammersmith’ is an elegiac, hand-drawn animation sweeping through 1950’s London. drawn from the iconic cinematography from Jules Dessin’s 1950 noir film, ‘Night And The City’.
The soundtrack by Lady Caroline Mary includes a song by Bernadette Sweeney.
This may be my favorite Kristian P./Gasspedal animated poetry film yet. It was just released from password protection on Vimeo a week ago after a three-year tour of film festivals. It premiered at the Norwegian publishing house Gyldendal in 2013 on what would have been Tor Ulven’s 60th birthday. Here’s the description from Vimeo (italics mine):
Everything disappears. Recordings of our voices will become archeological remains, and a spinning record yields fossil waves. Waves is based on three poems by Tor Ulven.
Tor Ulven (1953–1995):
Ulven made his debut as a poet in 1977, with the poetry collection Skyggen av urfuglen (Shadows of the Primordial Bird). Today, Ulven’s works enjoy an iconic status, and his poetry and prose have been translated into English, German, Spanish, Arabic, Hindi, Russian and other languages.
Words & voice by Tor Ulven
Design & animation by Kristian P.
Produced by Audun Lindholm & Harald Fougner
Based on three poems from Ulven’s poetry collection Forsvinningspunkt (Vanishing Point), Gyldendal Norsk Forlag, 1981.
A charming animation directed by Csaba Gellár of a poem for children by Hungarian author Zsolt Miklya. Attila Bárdos was the animator. This is one of a series of animated children’s poems produced by József Fülöp as a part of a project from MOME Animation, “one of the defining creative workshops and intellectual centres of Hungarian animation.” They all (?) popped up on the MOME Anim Vimeo site five days ago (though Gellár had shared the above version of his film 11 months earlier).
Naomi van Niekerk‘s animation of a poem by Ronelda Kamfer. Like the Grand Prize winner What about the law, this was on the shortlist for the 2016 Weimar Poetry Film Awards. Both films were produced as part of a series of animated poetry shorts in Afrikaans called Filmverse, headed up by Diek Grobler under the aegis of the ATKV (Afrikaans Language and Culture Association). Here’s how Google Translate renders the website’s description of the project:
Classical poetry and the work of contemporary poets are used to create a “visual anthology” in which a dialogue is created between word and image. Each animation film is accompanied by its own soundtrack in which the poem is read among others. The end product is a DVD of about 30 minutes with the twelve animation films on which are displayed as a separate production. The DVD playback is accompanied by an exhibition of posters of each of the twelve animation films.
Die Jury des 1. Weimarer Poetryfilm-Preises, bestehend aus der Erfurter Dichterin Nancy Hünger, dem Leiter des ZEBRA Poetryfilm-Festivals (Berlin/Münster) Thomas Zandegiacomo Del Bel sowie dem Wiener Filmemacher Hubert Sielecki wählte den südafrikanischen Beitrag WHAT ABOUT THE LAW (2014, 3:14 min) zum Sieger des mit 1000,- € dotierten Jurypreises. Regie führte der südafrikanische Animationskünstler Charles Badenhorst; das dem Film zugrundeliegende Gedicht verfasste der südafrikanische Autor Adam Small.
The Audience Award went to Steel and Air, a film based on a poem by John Ashbery directed by Chris and Nick Libbey and commissioned by Motionpoems, which I shared back in March. The full list of nominees is on the Poetryfilmkanal website.