Posts in Category: Author-made videopoems

Fragments by Nataly Menjivar

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A short animated poem by Los Angeles-based designer, illustrator and animator Nataly Menjivar, who calls it “A motion poem about loss and disassociation.” Menjivar’s text is voiced by Kailey Stephen-Lane, and the music is by William Basinski.

Upon My Skin by Axel Kacoutié

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British composer Axel Kacoutié‘s Poe-like text is brilliantly interpreted in this film-poem, produced by Kacoutié and directed by Émile. The YouTube description reads:

Please do not touch the paintings or other exhibits, and do not cross barriers.

It was featured in the London-based “online multimedia platform” Skin Deep on March 17. Here’s what they said about it:

Axel Kacoutié’s film-poem, Upon My Skin, is an electrifying meditation on performance, desire and the ways in which art is consumed. Inspired in part by Władysław Podkowiński’s [Vadeh-swav Pod-ko-vin-ski] painting Frenzy of Exultations, the video does away with the idea of art as the consumption of objects. Instead, art is conceived of as a disorienting experience that moves beyond the confines of the gallery space and into the world, blurring the distinction between art product and reality.

Axel explains: There is a helpless mood of sometimes not knowing what you’re looking at when you are in a gallery, but that wasn’t the case for ‘Axelina’ [Aderonke Oke]. Her confident stillness and her disregard for what is happening in the room makes it so that the observer becomes the observed; we become more interested in how she perceives the audience, rather than how the audience perceives her.  We cut to see ‘Her’ [Ally Goldberg] now clothed and free in a real world full of life.

Upon My Skin is otherworldly. It creates a world that is ethereal and ready to disappear at any moment, making Axel’s poetry the only thing that grounds us in corporeal reality. Although Axel explains that his ambitions are still exclusively musical, there can be doubt that the immersive sonic experience that Axel has created is made that much more poignant by the accompanying words. Upon My Skin is a mystifying video that is so obviously about black and white, but in a way that is unexpected. [link added]

A more recent interview in MASQ Magazine goes into detail about the production of the film and Kacoutié’s influences and aesthetic preferences: “Dark Horses and Desire.”

Haunting by Martin Evans

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An author-made videopoem from Welsh writer and humorist Martin Evans, whose work was brought to my attention by the inclusion of another of his videos, “Numbers“, in the latest issue of Poetry Film Live. He describes this one as

A film-poem to revisit a childhood haunt. Filmed on Whixall, Bettisfield and Fenns mosses on the Welsh/English border.

Scratch the pastoral surface of the countryside nearly anywhere and you’ll find similar stories of violence and loss. A beautifully done evocation.

Not Kissing You by Kevin Dublin

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An author-made videopoem by Kevin Dublin, one of three videos he’s made in support of his forthcoming collection How to Fall in Love in San Diego,

a chapbook of 26 love & anti-love poems. The poems are set inside, around, and far outside the bounds of San Diego, CA. They’re a collective attempt to encapsulate the city’s energy and people, as well as the universal, sometimes heart-wrenching, 21st century search for love or something similar. You can pre-order a copy of the chapbook in the Finishing Line Press store.

Dublin made the video with a combination of found and CC-licensed footage and music from The SVRGN, but it’s his exceptionally good voiceover that really sold me on it. (There’s a lesson in there for other poets interested in following his example, I think.) The poem originally appeared online in Glint Literary Journal.

Alien Babies by Gary Barwin

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There’s more than meets the eye to this delightfully unhinged new videopoem by the Canadian writer, multimedia artist and composer Gary Barwin. The YouTube description notes that the text is from his forthcoming collection No TV for Woodpeckers.

TWIN by Brendan Bonsack

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A new videopoem from Brendan Bonsack, who explained via email that

This one grew, organically if you like, from a short piece of discarded footage from another project.
Different from adapting a “page poem” to film, with this the music and poetry was written to follow the visuals.

If you still want the “page poem” experience, click through to Vimeo to read the text.

Exercise in the Face of Divorce by David Campos

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California poet David Campos calls this “A narrative video poem about utilizing exercise to deal with the pain of divorce.” It was the first example of contemporary videopoetry examined by Ruben Quesada in his article in Ploughshares last week. As the quotes in the article make clear, however, Campos prefers to think of his work as part of the film tradition, and describes his composition process as follows:

Sound can carry an image…. In “Exercise in the Face of Divorce,” I focused on capturing sound in the shots—this enhanced the poem. All the film criticism I’ve read came into play while shooting and editing the video. I framed and composed shots from the beginning to add meaning. I was conscious of the color while shooting and editing. I edited the footage down to their essential parts. Most importantly, I added sound from the shots themselves. These projects are not “video poems.” They’re short films and they must be treated this way. It is why I use a story board and a rough script from the beginning. The same care I would exhibit in creating a poem on the page must be taken through its production into a film.

Read the rest of the article, if you haven’t already, and check out more of Campos’ work on Vimeo.

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