Posts in Category: Videopoems

For Gasoline by James Brush

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Earlier this week, Spanish filmmakers Javi Zurrón (Myblue Audiovisual) and Eduardo Yagüe simultaneously released these two films based on the same poem by the Texas-based writer James Brush, from his collection of road poetry, Highway Sky. In the Myblue Audiovisual version, Brush’s recitation is in the soundtrack, with Yagüe’s Spanish translation in titling; in his own film, Yagüe reads the translation and the original appears on the screen. In their footage and soundtracks, the two films are completely different but complementary, interpreting the text in a similar manner. Aida Riesgo of Myblue Audiovisual stars in both, and Javi Zurrón is the male actor in Yagüe’s Gasolina.

The romance of the automobile is as old as pop music, but usually it’s some specific hot car or motorcycle, not gasoline itself, that is depicted as an object of desire. These videopoems feel simultaneously new and deeply indebted to the music video tradition, not in the soundtrack but in the iconography (a scene of a rock concert, a Ramones t-shirt, a tattoo, etc.).

Like the blues by Carrie Jenkins and Ray Hsu

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From Marc Neys AKA Swoon, this is his first new videopoem after a year-long break from filmmaking. It was created in collaboration with the Vancouver-based writers Carrie Jenkins and Ray Hsu for the Metaphysics of Love project’s first interdisciplinary workshop. Marc included footage from Dementia 13 (Coppola), Lodewijk van Eekhout and IICADOM, in addition to his own camera work, and composed the music for the soundtrack.

I would encourage all poets to read and think about the Metaphysics of Love’s project summary. An excerpt:

As regards contemporary North American poetry in English, romantic love has fallen out of favour to the extent that attempts to pursue it in professionalized contexts are now somewhat isolated, though it remains a popular topic among poets working outside such contexts. This trend can be traced back to “Modernism”, and to the institutionalization of poetic practice (and Creative Writing as a discipline) in the twentieth century. Canonical love poetries tend to be derived from Early Modern works and, to a lesser extent, eighteenth and nineteenth century poetry. Students of poetic accounts of love are these days more likely to encounter “courtly love” themes in Geoffrey Chaucer, or the sonnets of Shakespeare, than contemporary romantic love poetry.

Read the rest.

ПИЛИГРИМЫ / Pilgrims by Joseph Brodsky

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Pilgrims is “a short film based on the poem of the same name by Russian-American Nobel Prize winning poet Joseph Brodsky,” performed, directed, cinematography by John Doan. Click the CC icon for subtitles in Russian, German, French, or English. The synopsis on Vimeo reads:

Poet alone with his thoughts and feeling tries to find answers to life’s greatest questions. Where is this world going? What is real and what is illusory? Where can one find salvation and peace? Will his inner pilgrimage come to an end?

In addition to his other roles, Doan was also the English translator here; the music is by Moby. Visit the Facebook page for more information on the film.

Inner Flamingo by Sandra Beasley

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The D.C.-based poet Sandra Beasley has made three new videos in support of the paperback edition of her book Count the Waves, due out next week from Norton. This was my favorite of the three, but you can check out the others and read all about her process in a very thorough post at her blog (I love how her ideas to promote the book include “promoting the new and forthcoming books I love by others–because I believe that to give to a community is to get a community”), concluding with a number of annotated links to other poetry films and videos she admires.

The music is “Raidenaick” by Marceau. Beasley’s comments about her use of music were especially interesting to me:

I keep my videos short, under two minutes, but that’s just a personal preference. Also, I feel strongly that the best results come when you can find a piece of music whose length genuinely matches your voiceover, versus cropping something down. There’s a magic to how the crescendos and shifts in pacing–of an artwork created independently of your poem–can accent the turns in the text. (Somewhere in there lies a theory of the organic volta.)

Read the rest.

Antesala altísima / Lofty Anteroom by Estefanía González

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Spanish poet Estefanía González appears as one of three actors in this film interpretation of her poem from director Eduardo Yagüe. The English translation in the subtitles is the work of Jean Morris, and the music is from Swoon‘s album Time & River.

The poem appears in González’s 2013 collection Hierba de noche, which, according to this webpage, was born in large part from her activity on blogs, Twitter, and other social networks and internet collaborations. So it seems especially appropriate that her work should now be the subject of further web-based collaboration and transformation. As a blogging poet myself, I love her description of her outlook:

Sigo desperdigando poemas y semillas por las cunetas. Sigo vertiéndome como un jovenzuelo infinito. Sigo prefiriendo lo por venir a lo obrado. La perfección aún me recuerda a la muerte, cualquier elección me recuerda a la muerte. Quizá se trate de inmadurez. Seguramente.
(I keep scattering poems and seeds into the gutters. I keep pouring myself like an endless youth. I still prefer whatever is coming to what’s already been made. Perfection still reminds me of death, any choice reminds me of death. Maybe it’s immature. Surely.)

Transmission by Chris Sakellaridis

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A gorgeous animation by Afroditi Bitzouni accompanies a recitation by the Anglo-Greek poet Chris Sakellaridis. The echo effect makes it a bit hard to understand at first, but the text is included at the end of a review at The Creators Project, which begins:

Animated paper cutouts a la Henri Matisse come together to form a visual representation of a poem influenced by the Greek mythological character Orpheus. In Transmission, illustrator and animator Afroditi Bitzouni interprets Chris Sakellaridis’s poem of the same name through a form of collage animation. The seamless fluidity of Bitzouni’s animation resembles the work of Matt Smithson in his Decoding the Mind video. Taking cues from a chilling score by John Davidson, Bitzouni creates fragmented landscapes and abstract humanoids from scraps of colored paper. The majority of the cut outs are grain layer construction paper while others look like they were taken from a magazine or book.

The film is part of the 3361 Orpheus project,

an experimental performance, that combines poetry, music, animation, dance and opera. Ιt draws inspiration from a range of retellings and adaptations of Orpheus’s myth.

The performance’s concept is based on a triptych. The dismemberment and subsequent journey of Orpheus’s head from the river Evros to the island to Lesvos and the creation of his Oracle near the Petrified Forest. The spatial, disembodied, satellite voice coming from the constellation Lyra, where the lyre was placed after his death. The fate of Orpheus’s limbs, buried near Mount Olympus.

The main characters in the narrative are Hermes, in his capacity as psychopomp and transporter of dead souls; Eurydice, recounting her own experience, in the form of shade and dryad, as well as memory; and Orpheus with his lyre, which is seen as a fourth character, a creature alive with its own vital energy.

This is Bitzouni’s second appearance at Moving Poems. Back in 2014 I shared her animation of Night by Tasos Livaditis, a video from Tin House magazine’s late, lamented videos section, Tin House Reels.

My dad’s bigger than your dad by Dave Viney

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Sometimes the only thing a poetry film needs to be great is to demonstrate an advanced understanding of play. This film by Jo Lane does just that. She describes it on Vimeo as

A visual representation of a poem by the mancunian poet, Dave Viney.
‘My dad’s bigger than your dad’ is not only a nostalgic chant that everyone has memories of, but a poignant metaphor for many current political scenarios. [link added]

Myles Sketchley Mercer composed the music.

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