Posts in Category: Videopoems

Miss Flora Looks in Her Mirror by Martha McCollough

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A new film from Massachusetts-based videopoet Martha McCollough, one of three she’s placed so far in TriQuarterly. This one appears in their Summer/Fall 2014 issue. Kudos to their editors for changing their policy and allowing their videos to be embedded elsewhere.

McCollough continues to chart an independent course. Her work is like nobody else’s, mesmerizing and disturbing in equal measures — and always gorgeous.

Buttons by Robert Peake

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Husband-and-wife team Robert Peake and Valerie Kampmeier won the children’s prize in Southbank Centre’s inaugural Shot Through the Heart Poetry Film Competition with this film. Peake wrote about the composition process on his writer’s blog:

When Valerie and I read the call-out for a film-poem competition with a children’s category happening here in London, we had to give it a try.

I wrote and recorded the poem, and then began playing with stop-motion animation. I used Christmas ornaments made of teasel, blue tack, coloured paper, a Raspberry Pi with LEGO-mounted camera arm (my own creation, at right), and of course lots of buttons. Valerie wrote and recorded the music at the end.

After more than forty hours of painstaking animation work, it was so gratifying to discover that the judges–a group of London school children–really liked the result.

Peake has also created a free storybook from the poem, available for iPhone, iPad and Android devices.

While it may seem surprising that someone could meet with such success on their first foray into the world of children’s poetry film, Peake appears to have thoroughly immersed himself in the genre, judging from his survey at the Huffington Post, “Combining Film and Poetry Is Child’s Play.”

The film-poem genre is a slim but highly enthusiastic and truly international one. It is largely comprised of serious filmmakers and equally serious musicians and poets. As a result, the sub-genre of film-poems made specifically for children is something of a subset within a subset. Yet this kind of thing has been going on successfully for some time, from cartoons of Dr. Seuss books made in the 1970s to the recent Emmy-Award-winning “A Child’s Garden of Poetry” produced by HBO in cooperation with the US Poetry Foundation. There are also many fine examples from all over the world, in different languages, of filmmakers setting poetry to film with children in mind.

Click through to watch the selection of seven films that Peake also screened at a live event in the Southbank Centre’s festival in mid-July. He includes some real gems.

Last and probably least, I see from Facebook that Robert Peake has just gotten British citizenship, in case anyone is wondering why there are now two nationalities identified with his poems here. Like T.S. Eliot, he has now become a major headache for book catalogers using the Library of Congress system. Fortunately, the same post can appear on multiple virtual shelves on a website, thanks to the wonders of modern content management systems (WordPress, in Moving Poems’ case). At any rate, congratulations to Robert for coming out of the closet as fully bi-national.

Ode to the Eye by Derek J.G. Williams

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A poem by American poet Derek J.G. Williams, translated into video by Australian vocalist and media maker Marie Craven with the help of Dementio13 (music) and the Prelinger Archives (footage). The reading is by Nic Sebastian for the Poetry Storehouse, where Craven found the poem. She also credits the POOL group on Facebook, “an open creative community group engaged in shared media conversations,” which seems to be playing an increasingly important role in videopoem collaboration around Poetry Storehouse material.

Family Therapy (IV) by Cynthia Atkins

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Nic Sebastian isn’t content to manage The Poetry Storehouse and record audio tracks for many other people’s video projects; she continues to make poetry videos herself with a surer and surer hand. This video, one of her most recent, is among her best so far, I think. The text is one of six poems by Cynthia Atkins that appeared at the Storehouse earlier this month. The soundtrack, which strikes me as a particularly good match for the words and footage, comes from freesound.org user Peridactyloptrix.

A wide-ranging and fascinating interview with Nic Sebastian has just been posted at Creative Thresholds. About videopoetry Sebastian says, for example:

[T]he poem on the page is THE character in the page production. In a video production, the page poem remains a central character, but is not THE character in the same way. The page poem threads the poet’s story into the video, but other important elements join to play different roles in telling the story the film-maker found in the poem. Which, in the best video productions, is a related but different story, one that moves the original narrative forward in ways the poet may or may not have envisaged. The best video productions, in my view, are not merely a reflection of the original poem, not merely an attempt to recast/reproduce the poet’s narrative in visual form – they add something to the original narrative, they move it forward.

Do read the rest.


Moving Poems will be on holiday all next week. See you in August.

In Which I Play the Runaway by Rochelle Hurt

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An animation by Christabel Jarrold of a poem by Rochelle Hurt, with voiceover by Caitlin McMillan and sound by Tom Varrall.

The Final Neural Firings of the Eternal Starlet by Matt Mullins

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An internet-enabled collaboration between Matt Mullins (poem and video-audio composition) and Marc Neys, A.K.A. Swoon (editing, original footage and music). The voiceover is by Raquel Falcon.

Stupid Sandwich by Nathan Anderson

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A poem by Nathan Anderson from Best American Poetry 2013, adapted for Motionpoems by Carolyn Figel of MPC with additional animation by Andrew Montague, voiceover by Daniel Silverman, and sound design by Michael Scott.

The Best American Poetry blog has a brief post quoting Anderson about the poem:

This poem started when a few lines (a shadowy echo of what would become the speaker’s voice) surfaced while I was working on another project. As the speaker’s voice developed and the context began to take shape, I became interested in how this particular speaker responds and, more broadly, how all of us respond, when the daily pressures of a life become seemingly unmanageable.

Visit the video’s page on Motionpoems for the text of the poem.

I see from her website that Carolyn Figel has “An ongoing personal project of illustrating delicious sandwiches I find online.” No wonder this poem caught her eye, then.

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