A poetry film directed and with music by the author, Jessica Rigney. The text was published in Salomé, a new “online literary magazine for emerging female writers,” as part of their Body issue (July 2017). It’s interesting seeing such perennial literary themes — sex, fertility, female body as landscape — treated from an entirely female point-of-view. When I watched this for the first time, it seemed at once very familiar and entirely new.
A poetry film written and directed by Bangladeshi filmmaker Nayeem Mahbub. The description reads:
A man rages at memories of war, border crossings, beatings and asylum, at the hard years finding his place in a foreign land. He rages at the cosmic cruelty of having gone through all this for his loved ones, who died crossing the sea before they could join him.
This was brought to my attention by an interview with Mahbub just published at Poetryfilmkanal. A few snippets:
Poetryfilmkanal: Your film was produced within the DOC Nomads program. Tell us about the program and how it influenced or changed your way of film making?
Nayeem Mahbub: Doc Nomads is a unique master’s programme for documentary film directing. It involved living and filming in Portugal, Hungary and Belgium over two years. As you can imagine it was both very challenging and very stimulating. I definitely learned to notice things I had never thought about and to step firmly out of my comfort zone when making films. We were constantly facing language barriers, so thinking about the presence or absence of language and what that means became a default part of our process. The students in the programme became close friends and collaborators, even to this day. So our styles, thoughts and attitudes continue to rub off on each other.
Your film could be understood as a poetry film. But you didn’t consider yourself a poet when you wrote the script? Did you?
That’s true. I was working on an idea about asylum centres in Belgium but was having trouble finding access to tell the subjective kind of story I wanted. Then the combination of a few events I witnessed in Brussels started to come out in a form very similar to the final text in the film. At the time I assumed these would be notes for developing my idea further but I found it very powerful and kept it, with a few refinements. I have to acknowledge my fellow Doc Nomad and friend Sohel Rahman, a Bengali poet and filmmaker, who helped me a lot with refining the language.
Slovakian poet Eleni Cay‘s latest dancepoem video features dancer Roberta Stepankova. The text appears in her third and latest pamphlet (chapbook), A Small Love Dictionary Of Untranslatable Japanese Words.
This author-made videopoem is the latest addition to Meghan McDonald’s playlist of poetry videos, where meditations on time have been a reoccurring theme.
I was trying to think of a concise way to characterize McDonald when I clicked on her website and saw the tagline: Sound experimenter, filmmaker and visual poet. That sounds about right. Here’s her bio.
A mixed-media work by Los Angeles-based writer and artist Susie Welsh, which came to my attention when it was featured at the Atticus Review back in November. Welsh had written:
The Living Image project began as a call-and-response between my writing and the paintings of visual artist, Bill Atwood. These static elements were then brought to life on camera through my collaborations with video artists, Billy Hunt and Brian Wimer, as well as musician, Deke Shipp.
The video is in six numbered parts: “The Source,” “Inverted,” “In Echo,” “Out of Blindness,” “The Witness” and “The Sphinx.” The poet’s face forms part of the screen/surface onto which images are projected, which is always an interesting effect but works especially well here, drawing attention to the hermetic and spell-like quality of the text — a text which, to be honest, I probably wouldn’t like very much on its own, laden as it is with modifiers and abstractions. But it works well in a videopoem that’s truly greater than the sum of its parts. The Vimeo description reads:
Living Image is a poetry film exploring the frustration and alienation inherent in the assumption of selfhood, as well as the possibility of extricating the power of consciousness from our self-conscious preoccupation.
Click through to Atticus Review to read a fuller artist’s statement, which delves into ancient Egyptian cosmology, as well as a bio of Welsh. And while you’re there, check out the guidelines for submission — mixed media editor Matt Mullins is always looking for new material.
A 2009 poetry film, newly uploaded to Vimeo, written, directed and performed by Karen Mary Berr.
A silent text animation by Michael Barakat, who worked closely with the poet, Shin Yu Pai. Shin Yu told me in an email last Sunday,
I created this piece with designer Michael Barakat for a civic festival for the City of Redmond, WA, where I am wrapping up a 2-year term as the city’s fourth poet laureate. We projected the piece on the side of City Hall at its annual Redmond Lights Festival which took place this past weekend.
Via Shin Yu’s blog, here’s a video (shot by Scott Keva James) showing what that looked like: