Posts in Category: Author-made videopoems

God Bless Johnny Cash by James Brush

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Poet and blogger James Brush’s very first go at the videopoem genre.

I haven’t made a video for fun in 16 years. Perhaps it was the time spent working on film sets in the early ’90s, but I lost interest somewhere along the way. The inspiration for this came from Christine Swint’s “Anybody’s Child” and Dave Bonta’s post on poets and technology over at Very Like a Whale. In the comments I mentioned that I have a film degree and probably should take a crack at doing a video poem sometime.

Then, this evening, I was about to post this poem along with audio of me reading. The poem started with some pictures I had taken of my guitar with the iphone Hipstamatic app, and I thought it would be cool to put one of the pictures up. Next thing I knew, I was building this video.

The “music” is something I recorded a few years back by overdubbing several tracks of me playing my guitar (well, really I was mostly playing the amplifier) and my wife’s bass. I’m not sure if it’s too loud, but I was trying to submerge the voice a little bit without losing too much clarity.

The post also includes the text of the poem. James’ film expertise really shows here, I think: the mix of sound and images is just right, and there’s just enough movement going on for this to qualify in my mind as a “moving poem,” even though, as he says, he was inspired in part by a recent, high-quality slideshow-video from Christine Swint. I love seeing poetry-blogger friends experiment with multimedia, and I’m proud of whatever small role I might have played in helping to make that happen.

Children by Mike Finley

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Mike Finley is a journalist and business writer who also writes poetry and, starting last year, has been making a lot of videos. This is one of my favorites of his so far.

Verde: the greening of electrons by Thylias Moss

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I’ve been seriously remiss in not posting some of the 57 poetry videos uploaded by Forkergirl at YouTube, A.K.A. Thylias Moss, a major contemporary American poet. This one caught my fancy because it riffs on the first lines of a favorite poem of mine, Federico García Lorca’s “Romance Sonámbulo.” Moss includes the text of her piece in the notes below the video on YouTube. Made for Valentine’s Day 2007, it’s been played more than 3,900 times.

One Hand Clapping by Brenda Clews

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Toronto-based painter and poet Brenda Clews has recently begun to explore videopoetry, with some very interesting results. Concrete or visual poetry often strikes me as more art than poem, but I like what this one says about rain — and about poetry. The words are right at hand, but remain out of reach. (If you have the bandwidth for it, this is available in HD, as well — click through to view it on YouTube.)

Another exciting thing about this production is the double-blind collaborative way it came about, alluded to in the title and explained in the credits at the end:

Brenda created a short film
for unheard music

Gabriel created music
for an unseen film

Gabriel is the avant garde musician Gabriel G, a.k.a. Alphacore.

See Brenda’s lengthy description and analysis of the piece at her blog, Rubies in Crystal.

Green Grass by Michelle Firment Reid

Artist Michelle Firment Reid is both the poet and producer here; Austin Tollin handled the cinematography and editing. (via The City Breath Project blog)

I Don’t Fear Death by Sandra Beasley

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Sandra Beasley is both poet and filmmaker here. This is one of three videos she made for poems from her prize-winning collection I Was the Jukebox. (She also blogs.)

My Story is Not My Own by Steven McCabe

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The most ambitious film by a poet for his own poem I’ve yet seen. It even has its own website; go there for the complete credits. Here’s McCabe’s description of the poem and the project:

At the moment of the fatal shots Jacqueline Kennedy was seen fleeing into prehistory, dancing ritualistically, time-traveling to the wild-west and documenting landscape. The film’s running time of 11:22 mirrors the date of the events precipitating the film’s thematic concerns.

‘My Story is Not My Own’ intertwines art forms; featuring four performers (including two dancers), narrators reciting poetry, one singer chanting Javanese-inspired incantations, electronic-ambient music and ‘found’ Super 8 footage from Kashmir in the 1960s.

The film blends scenes of journey, intimations of ritual, emotionality and American political history within an overarching sense of earth’s mystery. Personal and national grief juxtapose with archival footage of distant landscapes evoking a sense of loss.

Archetypal images of grief pervade the film’s imagery via the symbols of starfish, stones and veils. A mythological texture envelops the various manifestations of the ‘widow.’

Wearing her pink outfit, from that tragic day in 1963, she bursts through a saloon’s swinging wooden doors followed by the swelling ocean crashing wildly in faded footage. Linked to nature her story is truly not only her own.

‘One string snaps, this is the sound of what was new, and the oldest vibration of all, following its twin.’

‘My Story is Not My Own’ is a first film from a poet remembering the ‘feeling’ of November, 1963. Watching black & white TV with his mother nearby tending to small children. The film makes an unspoken connection between chemical attacks on the jungles of Vietnam which soon followed and the spirituality of disappeared Neolithic culture.