Posts in Category: Author-made videopoems

Abschied / Parting by Sophie Reyer

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A videopoetry collaboration between Austrian writer Sophie Reyer and Belgian artist Marc Neys A.K.A. Swoon, who writes:

Last summer I was invited to give a workshop at the dotdotdot Kurzfilmfestival in Vienna. During that weekend I met Sophie Reyer.

We decided to collaborate on a video for one of her poems, Abschied.


Spohie is also a composer and a filmmaker. In our mailing back and forth I received some of her compositions and a short film she made a few years ago.
I decided to take pieces of her music and a short sequence of her film ‘Die Erfahrung’ and re-mix and build a new work on those pieces.

A soundtrack came first; [Soundcloud link]

​Most sounds and noises you hear in this track (except for the clicks, the birds, and the piano) are all made out of samples of Sophie’s music and voice.
She also provided me with a subdued reading and an English translation for the subtitles.

I used the tempo (and clicks) in the soundtrack as a guide to edit the chosen film sequences. Using a lot of repetition to create a form of visual rhythm.

Once the videopoem was done I asked Sophie to do a small write up;

Image and sound. Words and pictures. In “Abschied” i try to talk about letting go and starting a new. In my work with marc neys we focused on sound- and picture- material that i associate with the subject of death. we used it as a playground. mark re- arranged and composed the material, put it into rhythm, added new layers, used filters and interpreted the fragments in a very intelligent way.

We both like what came out of this and might collaborate again in the future, but then with newly created sounds and film…

For now, enjoy Abschied!


Break and Remake by Martha McCollough

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A new videopoem by artist and poet Martha McCollough always makes me do a little dance of pure delight. Break and Remake debuted on Atticus Review a week ago, and I’ve held off on sharing it till now (not wanting to steal their thunder) only with great difficulty. Here’s how McCollough introduced it:

Break and Remake came out of thinking about the recombined creatures in myths and in the margins of medieval manuscripts. The whole video is broken and reassembled, as are the griffins, chimeras, and other monsters within the video. The text is also a hybrid, combining overheard remarks, a line from a song by Son House and computer-generated text from spam.

Tiny Machine by Dave Malone

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An author-made videopoem by Dave Malone that also functions as a trailer for his book O: Love Poems from the Ozarks (TS Poetry Press, 2015). The music is by Wayne Blinne. (H/t: tweetspeak.)

The Almost Prayer by Patricia Killelea

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An author-made videopoem by Patricia Killelea, reading a poem from her forthcoming collection Counterglow (Mango Publications, 2016). According to the Video Poetry page on her website,

The poems from my forthcoming second poetry collection, Counterglow, are small and serious, and their sparseness prompts questions of space and the need to expand the visual-aural arc of my poetry’s scope. For these reasons, I’ve begun exploring video poetry. I’m excited about these transformations in poetics and the move toward digital experimentation. I began my video-poetry-sound experiments while I was an artist-in-residence at the Santa Fe Art Institute during August 2013.

It is possible that video poems are a way of grounding written speech back in the body, evoking a multi-sensorial experience of language and space. It is also possible that movements in digital poetics against narrative merely reiterate the varied ways in which all experience, language, and life is inherently storied– that is, fragmented structures tell a story of fragmentation, etc. It is likewise possible that the acoustic and visual “compete” with each other as Charles Bernstein suggests (2003) and that we are in the age of poetry “music videos,” a kind of anti-MTV or a poet’s last stand against bullshit assertions that poetry doesn’t matter. It definitely matters, and video poetry makes its materiality all the more substantive.

Visit YouTube to watch more of Killelea’s videopoetry.

LONG RONG SONG by Ottar Ormstad

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The Norwegian concrete poet Ottar Ormstad and Russian composer Taras Mashtalir form the duo OTTARAS, currently looking for live performance venues. This video was produced in collaboration with Russian video artist Alexander Vojjov, and “exists in different versions made for screening and live performance,” according the Vimeo description.

Projected on a grid of particles that at times seem ordered, while sometimes chaotic and always in flux, Ormstad’s constructed language poetry is exposed and read by the author while performing to Mashtalirs pulsating music. Is everything connected to one another in the sphere that is shaping before the viewer’s eyes? How does language relate to the atmospheric scapes Vojjov creates of numbers, geometric forms and abstract shapes? LONG RONG SONG (2015) conveys Ormstad’s language research project that is based on AUDITION FOR FENOMENER UTEN BETEGNELSE (Audition for Phenomena without a Name), his second book of concrete poetry (2004). In the video, Ormstad reads through a cycle of 5 poems that present combinations of four letters made of an artifical language system that he has created and which may, or may not result in words commonly used in latin languages. […] 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 05:26
Animation: Alexander Vojjov
Music: Taras Mashtalir
Concrete poetry, voice & production: Ottar Ormstad
© Ottar Ormstad 2015

I find it a mesmerizing hybrid of concrete and sound poetry—a great example of how an effective video can make avant-garde poetry approachable.

But Mama, Why Do We Remember? by Sarah Kain Gutowski

It’s rare to see a poet or filmmaker’s very first attempt at videopoetry turn out as successfully as this. Fortunately the poet and co-director Sarah Kain Gutowski wrote a good blog post detailing her collaboration with the videographer, Paul Turano.

Toward the end of July, P.T. (pictured to the left, doing his tech thing) and I began work on our poetry video collaboration. We recorded the audio, then discussed various images and the sequence in the video, looked at some stock footage, brainstormed, etc. Last week, we met on campus with my little helpers, Miss Talkalot and The Boy, and we managed to film a couple of shots of them as the characters from my fairy tale poem, and then also some shots of the surrounding pine barrens, which are lovely.

This exercise is fun but strange and confusing. I have this idea of the poetry video as a piece of art unto itself, separate and distinct from a printed poem, but as we’re creating this piece I feel like we’re making a poetry video like people make music videos — which can be an art unto itself but is also just as often a simplified representation, with visuals, of what happens in the narrative of a song. I’m really hoping to avoid the latter, but I’m not sure if we’re going to get there, to that place where the video poem is lyric and metaphorical and something beyond illustration.

Do read the rest. It’s always fascinating to hear how a beginning videopoet works through the genre’s unique challenges.

The poem originally appeared (in text form) in the Spring 2015 issue of So To Speak: A Feminist Journal of Language and Art.

Cat by Gary Hoare and Joe Cronin

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This delightful videopoem by Gary Hoare and Joe Cronin was the winner in the Best Smartphone Production category at the 2015 Rabbit Heart Poetry Film Festival. (Watch all six finalists on YouTube.) The internet may already be cracking under the cumulative weight of tens of thousands of cat videos, but I think there’s always room for one that pushes beyond the mere cute factor to ask larger questions about cats, people, and (in this case) worship.

One of the unique features of Rabbit Heart is that they require all films/videos to be made by the author, either alone or in close collaboration with the filmmaker. In this case, I’m not entirely sure which of the named authors did which, but that’s O.K. I guess.