After being given an artist and a poet at random we were asked to select a poem and use inspiration from the artist to create a motion piece under the title “Words in Motion”.
Bibliophobia is an animation I did to a poem by my father that recently won the Newcastle Poetry New Media Prize. It’s not often that you get to work on a project like this with your dad, so it was nice for it to be recognised.
Jason Nelson writes in the accompanying publication ‘The Night Road’;
“Rarely does a digital poem arrive so polished and aesthetically compelling. Using rich layering of textural and graphical imagery ‘Bibliophobia’ explores the strange place between ‘ancient’ paper and the contemporary world’s new digital story/poetic environments. Indeed the work itself seems to be directed towards the brief and portable devices, a trailer of ideas for iPhones and email sharing. Initially I was disheartened by the abrupt and all-too-soon end. But isn’t that what’s expected of media, to attract with style and mystery and ideation, then leave before interest wanes.
And like electronic candy I found myself watching this work again and again, wanting more. Perhaps what’s needed is a pause button, so readers can soak in the organic, near ‘steampunk’ visuals and archaic and experimental poetics”
Joshua Casoni may not have gotten the title or all the words quite right, but this is still the most imaginative video interpretation I’ve seen of the poem. Doug Toomer stars at the homeless man. Casoni was assisted by Jake Doty on camera and sound.
A 1922 poem by Akhmatova turned into an art song by Russian-Israeli composer Zlata Razdolina, who is also the singer and videographer. According to her website, “Most of her repertoire of more than six hundred romances and songs is composed of the famous Russian classical poets, A. Akhmatova, N.Gumilyov, O. Mandelstam, M. Tsvetayeva, A. Blok, I. Severyanin, S.Yesenin and others.”
The English translation used for the subtitles is by Judith Hemschemeyer.
“Adapted from selected poems by renowned Hawaii author Lois-Ann Yamanaka, Silent Years tells a universal story using the unique dialect of Hawaiian Pidgin English,” according to the description by Kinetic Films. James Sereno directs.
In a brief interview with the Honolulu Advertiser, Yamanaka described her reaction to the film, in the production of which she had no active role:
Q. How does “Silent Years” compare with other dramatic presentations of your work? Is there a particular performance medium that is most sympathetic to your artistic aims and concerns?
A. In a word, stunning. Its images were unrelenting. Also, the use of an adult narrator made it all the more painful as a device of point of view because it implies that the girl has not fully “recovered” from the pain of her experience.
It’s always been a bit uncomfortable for me to see my work on stage at Kumu (Kahua Theatre), and now it’s uncomfortable to see my work on the screen because whereas the characters only existed in my mind before, they take on human interpretations with the actors. It’s odd. I’m sitting in a dark theater and I feel like God must feel, or the Olym-pian gods as they watch the lives and stories of those they created unfold before them.
Q. “Silent Years” is drawn from two of your early poems. What’s it like for you to experience these poems again at this stage in your writing life? Did you feel any impulse to refine or revise?
A. It never fails to evoke the same feelings in me that were evoked in the creation of the poems when I read them again or when I see them performed. I feel a knot at the pit of myself. I experience it all over again.
I feel no impulse to refine or revise. They no longer seem wholly mine. These works exist in the world and are in constant revision and refinement when someone reads them and makes them their own.
Q. What are your impressions of the individual elements of the film? The direction and cinematography? The individual actors? The narration?
A. With regard to the individual elements of the film, I was amazed at the locations they used that were very evocative and almost accurate to the text.
The face of Julie Nagata was amazing. I think she captured the essence of the girl.
What I thought was genius was the use of the adult narrator Janice Terukina, whose voice bled in and out with the performers on the film.
Wil (Kahele) as the uncle was frightening. What I didn’t expect was the subtlety of Matt’s (Miller) character’s hesitation and reluctance at certain parts of the film. In those small moments, he gave a humanity to an inhumane character.
The soundtrack is incredibly haunting and powerful.