Posts in Category: Videopoems

My Mother Speaks to me of Suicide by Dave Lordan

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Pádraig Burke of the production company Runaway Penguin directed and edited this filmpoem-performance video hybrid. Though some of the shots struck me as a bit too literal, they were balanced by other, more oblique images, and Dave Lordan‘s intense delivery was a good fit for the dire subject-matter of the poem. “My Mother Speaks to me of Suicide” appears in his collection The Lost Tribe of the Wicklow Mountains (Salmon Press, 2014).

Incidentally, Runaway Penguin takes its name from one of my favorite Werner Herzog scenes… which also relates, in a strange way, to the subject of Lordan’s poem.

The Society for the Prevention of Something by Dale Wisely

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Dale Wisely has acknowledged the Belgian filmmaker Marc Neys A.K.A. Swoon as one of the major influences on his recent foray into videopoetry. Here Swoon returns the favor with a video remix of one of Wisely’s poems from The Poetry Storehouse. He shared some process notes on his blog.

I found this poem perfect for a ‘filmcomposition with txt on screen’ type of video.
First  I made a re-edit of a track I made earlier to give me a nice timeframe and a ‘mood’ to work with.
For some reason I wanted animals (crawling, floating, …)  in this video. Browsing different footage providers gave a good collection of jellyfish, crows, a worm, insects,…

I combined these with shots of nature, agriculture, hunting (all very moody) and tried out what lines from the poem worked best with what image. I still think it’s a fun way of ‘composing’ a videopoem.

Late by Keith Sargent

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An author-made videopoem by the creative director of the British design company immprint. It was nominated for best editing at the Liberated Words Poetry Film Festival 2014. Keith Sargent gave this background:

My father was dying of cancer, I was in London and he was in Kent, a 45 mile distance; this would normally take one and a half hours. On the 8th of August at 8.30 a.m. I received a call from my Mum who passed the phone to my Dad, he said “I love you. Night, night.” At 10 a.m. I received a call from his nurse saying he was very close (to dying). I set off. I arrived at 1.15. I was late. He had gone. I held his still warm hand (Mum had wrapped him in duvet to keep his body warm). I missed him. I miss him.

Liberated Words’ Vimeo upload description goes on to say:

Keith Sargent is creative director of multi-disciplinary design company immprint ltd and has worked as an educator, illustrator, filmmaker and graphic designer since graduating from the RCA in 1988. His films have been commissioned for commercial projects and screened at Bath Mix, Zebra, Athens and Visible Verse poetry film festivals.

director / scriptwriter / editor / music: Keith Sargent
cast: Keith Sargent, Stan Sargent, Rebecca Sargent, Stanley Sargent

Since my friend Rachel Rawlins saw this film at Liberated Words’ March 5 screening at The Little Theatre in Bath and really liked it, I asked her if she’d be willing to write a short review. We don’t get to hear very often from fans of poetry film who are neither poets nor filmmakers. Here’s what she sent along:

I love the way this video poem manages in a deceptively simple way to juxtapose so many of the profound dualities around life and death. There’s the physical rootedness of warmth and cold as well as our subjective experience of time, both forwards and backwards. The soundtrack and film unite to give a sense of slow, almost underwater/otherworldliness whilst narrating an experience of considerable tension and stress where the need for speed is central. The use of text on the screen is something I often have great difficulty with (perhaps as a result of a dyslexia-like inability to process letters easily) but its use here—slow, deliberate and carefully planted within the physical visual environment of the film—really works for me. I find the overall experience utterly immersive.

What I don’t like (and actually makes my toes curl) is the addition, one by one, of crosses above the heads of the three adults in the family photograph. I’m happy there wasn’t the usual slow focusing in on the child’s face or suchlike but I feel there’s no need to use any device to underscore the fact that he’s the last one left. We’ve already been told that.

The Lake Isle of Innisfree by William Butler Yeats

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I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey…

By situating the action of this animated short in the “pavements grey” rather than the “bee-loud glade,” director, scriptwriter and editor Don Carey was able to avoid the trap of too-literal illustration while drawing attention to the poem’s longing and suggestion of despair. The ending is brilliantly ambiguous.

According to the Vimeo description, Innisfree was “produced by the students of the animation department at the Irish School of Animation, Ballyfermot College of Further Education, 2013.” It won best animation at the 2014 Royal Television Society awards, and has been screened at several festivals, including the Cork Spring Poetry Festival, the 7th ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival in Berlin, and the Liberated Words Poetry Film Festival 2014 in Bristol (and again last week at their “Reflections” screening in Bath).

mimes in hi-fi by Howie Good

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Dale Wisely has been making videopoems at a great rate, playing with a variety of techniques and approaches. Here, a Babel of voices and text gradually gives way to a poem in the soundtrack and (partially) on the screen. Howie Good is one of the hardest working and most widely published poets on the internet; it’s always a pleasure to add to his archive here.

The Golden Bird by Helen Moore

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My friend Rachel attended Liberated Words“Reflections” screening at Bath last week, and this film, directed by Howard Vause of Frome Media Arts, was one of her favorites. I agree it’s a marvelous blend of live and animated sequences, and the back-story—the way it grew out of creative sessions with adults with dementia—is compelling, too. Here’s the description from Vimeo:

‘Babka and The Golden Bird’ is a Russian folktale in which the heroine, Babka, an elderly woman rescues a dying bird. When the forest is threatened, the bird grants her three wishes…

The Golden Bird Project invited patients on the RUH [Royal United Hospitals] Older People’s Units to take part in a series of interactive storytelling workshops with poet, Helen Moore and film-maker Howard Vause. With music by Frankie Simpkins and models by Edwina Bridgeman (Art At The Heart Musician and Artist in Residence respectively), the project was initiated by Sarah Tremlett (Liberated Words), funded by BaNES and supported by Art at the Heart’s Hetty Dupays and Diane Samways (Arts Programme Manager and Marketing, respectively).

This film features an original poem by Helen Moore based on both the folktale and contributions from workshop participants. It premieres at Liberated Words Poetry Film Festival (Arnolfini, Bristol) in September 2014.

See the page 12 of the programme on Issuu for a much fuller description of the project from Helen Moore. (See also the website for Art at the Heart of the RUH.) Moore writes, in part:

Drawing on my experience of running story sessions with older adults with dementia, I’ve seen how tactile objects can offer a stimulating opener for group work. Handling the objects provides the participants with sensory engagement, which helps ground them in the present moment. And by choosing things that connect with the story I’m about to tell, there’s a ‘bridge’ into what will follow. … Encouraging participants to express associations that arise with the objects can also facilitate self-expression in new/unexpected areas, mining memories and experiences, which were perhaps long forgotten.

An Affair by Tia Dunn

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“Exploring the relationship we have (she has) with alcohol,” says the brief description on Vimeo of this videopoem by Tia Dunn, a British-American artist, photographer, filmmaker and poet currently based in Brooklyn. Mariette Papic supplied the voiceover, the music is by Grand Union Hijack, and the footage comes from a variety of sources including liquor ads.

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