Ian Gibbins‘ work is generally the first I mention when making the case for videopoetry as a genre in which “difficult” poems can become highly entertaining, even gripping. In Ian’s case, this has a lot to do with composing a groovy soundtrack. But his filming, text animation, and editing are all top-notch too. My only complaint here is that I wanted more ostrich.
Anyway, this one’s pretty high-concept, so I’d better reproduce the description on Vimeo:
“this time, this place… beyond open circulation closed reciprocity… closed hydration spheres wrought cast smithed… this is what we are what we eat … ”
Iron is the most common metal on earth. Indeed, it forms much of the molten core of the planet which in turn generates the earth’s magnetic poles. The red soils of the world are due to iron. At a biochemical level, iron is essential for human life, amongst other things, making our blood red. In the societal domain, iron is essential for manufacturing, electricity generation, and much more. Certain bacteria can derive energy for life directly from dissolved iron compounds (“rust”) rather than from oxygen as we do. Perhaps, at some time in the future, we, our descendants, the Ferrovores, may need to do the same.
Filmed mostly in the Southern Flinders Ranges, South Australia, in the midst of a multi-year drought.
A remix (2020) of the original version published in the Atticus Review (July, 2020).
Strange to think we might be safe
in the harbour’s strong embrace
but still unable to embrace our friends,
our arms when we meet stiff
by our sides, a new unease
in our movements, our stillness, in our very breath.
This author-made poetry film, by Irish poet Pat Boran, really hit the spot this morning. Which is surprising, because it contains two things that are usually a red flag for me: sentimental soundtracks with piano and strings, and a number of quite literal matches of shot to text. But these are offset, for me, by Boran’s imaginative variety of shots overall, his deft touch with editing, and the quietly powerful effect of the poem/film (his term) as a whole. And it does feel like an organic whole, as if the poem emerged from or together with the filming. All he says about his process is that it was “shot on East Pier, Howth, Co. Dublin, August 2020.” (He made a blog post for it, but go to YouTube for the text.)
We’ve always had a soft spot for author-made videopoems and poetry films here, and it’s great to see a poet of Boran’s stature take the medium so seriously, and recognize poetry film as its own genre. His current author bio concludes like this:
Since 2015, and the publication of Waveforms: Bull Island Haiku, in which the poems are accompanied by the author’s own black and white photographs, he has been increasingly drawn to the possibilities presented by matching photographs and various other graphic forms with text, not only producing an ongoing series of PoemCards, but more recently exploring short poem-films.
It’s always great to see a poet making her own book trailers — I mean, it’s even better to see poetry presses doing that for their poets, but for most, that’s not part of the deal, I guess. What’s cool about Kristy Bowen is that she’s also a publisher, running the chapbook press Dancing Girl Press, and skills she’s honed there as an artist and graphic designer stand her in very good stead on her first foray into videopoetry production. Let me just paste in the YouTube description:
sex & violence
by Kristy Bowen
(Black Lawrence Press, 2020)
A writer and book artist working in both text and image, Kristy Bowen is the author of a number of chapbook, zine, and artists book projects, as well as several full-length collections of poetry/prose/hybrid work, including the recent salvage (Black Lawrence Press, 2016), major characters in minor films (Sundress Publications, 2015) and girl show (Black Lawrence, 2014). She lives in Chicago, where she runs dancing girl press & studio
This is the second of three videos so far that Kristy has made based on excerpts from sex & violence; you can watch them all on her YouTube channel. As she noted in her blog, for honey machine, “I’ve been playing a bit more with public domain footage and my own words..this time, a little more text oriented and without the distraction of my own voice.”
Last week we shared a film from the series of 12 that were created for the Wild Whispers project. Each video was made in response to a poem by Chaucer Cameron in the UK. The poem went through a number of ‘blind translations’ in a film-making chain across the world, each video uniquely expressing the poem’s transformation through languages.
When I first read the poem, it made me think of Native Americans and how much their ancestors had greatly suffered through history. As a Deaf Bihari/South Asian American, I wanted to highlight the themes of suffering and refuge of the poem by showcasing Native American culture(s) and show that despite centuries of cultural genocide, settler colonialism and violence, Native people and their cultures still thrive and resist to this day. I also wanted to draw a parallel between the sufferings of Native Americans with refugees from all over, including Syria, Myanmar, Central African Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, etc. As an immigrant in the USA, I wanted to honour Native Americans by showcasing the beauty of the Navajo language and Pueblo cultures in New Mexico.
Lastly, Plains Indian (Native American) Sign Language was a major influence on American Sign Language, which I used to perform the poem with Navajo voice over.
Wild Whispers: New Mexico
Country and place of production: New Mexico, USA.
Languages: Navajo, American Sign Language and English.
Filmmaker and editor: Sabina England.
Translators: Meryl Van Der Bergh (Dutch to English translation), World Translation Center (Navajo), Sabina England (American Sign Language and improved English prose).
A brilliant concrete videopoem directed and produced by Canadian poet Fiona Tinwei Lam with animation by Nhat Truong and sound design by Tinjun Niu. The Vimeo description notes that
This short animated video depicts two concrete/visual poems by poet Fiona Tinwei Lam from her collection of poems Odes & Laments about marine plastic pollution.
It won the Judges’ Award for Best Poetry Video, REELpoetry Houston 2020, which is how I knew about it: I was one of those judges.
Ode to Anxiety is a half-minute film by Milena Tipaldo, an animator and illustrator in Torino, Italy. It is an outstanding text-on-screen film. Though it was made three years ago, it is even more relevant now.
The animation is distinctive, created from Tipaldo’s line-sketch illustrations. The text on screen is graphically well-blended with the drawings. It appears largely in Italian with smaller lettering in English on the bottom left and right of the screen. The overall rhythm of the film is fast and sharp.
The poem is written playfully and also speaks strongly about anxiety, describing it as a “faithful companion”. This will have special meaning to anyone who has lived with high anxiety over time, even before our world turned upside down. Now so many more of us are experiencing it at greater intensity.
There are only two credits at the end of the film, for Milena Tipaldo’s animation, and Enrico Ascoli for sound design. The latter is fantastic, creating a musical texture of lively, comic sounds, with a touch of flamenco guitar at the end.
I assume the poem is by Tipaldo. It is published in English in the video notes at Vimeo.
The video explores the effects on our perceptions of reality when we experience so much of it via mobile phones.
Parra’s website tells us this about her:
Celia Parra is a Galician poet and film producer… Her poems have been translated to English, French, Finnish, Catalan and Spanish.
She also created and was executive producer of Versogramas: Verses and Frames, a 75-minute film about videopoetry as a genre, including many film excerpts and several interviews with videopoets around the world.