The latest issue (#155) of Triquarterly came out on January 14, opening as usual with a section of video essays/cinepoems, including this one by Allain Daigle, which is described as a cinepoem on Vimeo but labeled a video essay on the website. His bio at the latter location reads:
Allain Daigle is a PhD candidate in Media, Cinema, and Digital Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He is currently writing his dissertation, which historicizes the industrialization of lens production between the late 19th century and the 1920s. His work has appeared in Film History, [in]Transition, The Atlantic, and TriQuarterly.
In “An Introduction to Video Essays” in TQ 155, Sarah Minor writes,
Using a style that sets high-quality footage to the pace of slow breathing, Allain Daigle’s “New Arctic” thinks about the future of our planet without using images of landscape. In this project, Daigle shows us a house being built from the inside: industrial lighting, radio waves, breaths that rise in parcels. He asks us to consider the changes “our skin doesn’t notice” that mean our children will “dream about icebergs,” because “the new Arctic,” of course, is an oxymoron.
The videos in this suite trick us into seeing three familiar technologies in unfamiliar ways. Each piece showcases the variety of formats, structures, and new media that today’s literary videos might take on.
Click the closed captioning (CC) icon to read the English subtitles.
An author-made videopoem by Eta Dahlia, who notes in the Vimeo description:
Song (Сонг) is part of an album of thirteen compositions called Tsvetochki (Цветочки). The video poem aims to create a new type of poetic language, integrating spoken word with moving image and not merely echoing or illustrating the spoken word with visuals.
Eta Dahlia is
A London based Russian film maker and video-poet. I am part of the No Such Thing collective.
These are numbers 3, 7 and 15 from a 20-part series of videopoems made for an exhibition last year in Quebec City by Jean Coulombe and Gilbert Sévigny, AKA Éditions VA. The haiku-like texts are by Coulombe, they collaborated on the videos, and the sounds are credited to Marie-Louise. The exhibition itself consisted of “20 tableaux ayant pour thématique la basse-ville de Québec. Chaque tableau était jumelé à un vidéo poème accessible sur internet, par un code QR” (20 pictures about downtown Quebec City. Each picture was twinned to a vidéo-poem linked on the web with a QR code). The exhibition catalogue is online in PDF form.
Many of the texts are coffee-themed, and I gather the exhibition was in a coffee shop. Satori in Zen means awakening, so it makes sense to refer to the effect of caffeine as a sort of satori on stand-by. There’s a preface in the catalogue called “Un petit moment” (A small moment) which I ran through Google Translate (I don’t know much French):
Each passing day gives us a chance to appreciate small moments. Stopping for coffee is one of them.
This special moment allows reflection and even in some cases a form of meditation.
What remains afterward?
Of course, in our minds a lot of things are floating around: daydreams, inner dialogues or observations. But there is also the physical and ephemeral presence of this little “ring” left by the cup of coffee on the table. One does not notice it, and yet one is witness to the discreet happiness of this tiny moment.
Isle of Man-based poet and artist Janet Lees has long been an important figure in the international poetry film scene, often collaborating with Terry Rooney, but recently she’s been experiencing a creative surge, she told me, and one only needs to visit her Vimeo page to see the evidence: a number of new, generally very short films that showcase her range of interests and stylistic approaches. One constant in her work is the preference for text-on-screen. She also often deploys just a single shot, which works because—as I’ve come to learn by following her on Instagram—she has a terrific eye. Her one-line description on IG: “everything is poetry”.
This brilliant author-made videopoem seemed like a good one with which to start a new season of regular posts at Moving Poems. Joanna Fuhrman is the author of five books of poetry, including Pageant (2009), winner of the Kinereth Gensler Prize from Alice James Books; and The Year of Yellow Butterflies (Hanging Loose Press, 2015). Her page at the Poetry Foundation website notes that
Her poetry is humorous and surreal, mining references from pop and high culture. Writing about Fuhrman’s work for BOMBLOG, Susie DeFord observed that Fuhrman “takes the best of the surrealist and narrative poetry, weaving social and personal stories with extreme wit, imagination.”
These qualities are certainly on display here and in the other nine videopoems which she’s recently uploaded to Vimeo. “Witty” was the first word that came to my mind when I started browsing through her work. And it’s always great to see a widely published poet with serious video-making chops.
Janet Lees‘ latest poetry film: “Written & filmed by Janet Lees. Music – ‘Scriptures’ by Post War Stories. Edited by Glenn Whorrall.”
The music plays an unusually prominent role, but I found the interplay between the lyrics and Janet’s text on the screen intriguing. And because the music was so much a feature, the slow-motion single shot felt almost like an ironic commentary on the fast cuts and frenetic camerawork that characterize so many music videos.
Lithuanian-American-Canadian poet Lina Ramona Vitkauskas has been directing a series of short but powerful cinepoems for her collection White Stockings with the help of visual artist Tess Cortés (editing, arrangement and score). Watch the others on Vimeo. They deserve many more views than they have received so far.