Posts in Category: Videopoems

Light Ghazal by Matt Hetherington

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Some gorgeous new work from Australian poetry-film collaborators Marie Craven (video concept, edit, effects) and Matt Hetherington (poem and voice), with music by Masonik and film sourced from Mono No Aware. Marie’s process notes (with links added):

‘Light Ghazal’ is the third video collaboration with poet, Matt Hetherington. From across the world, Dave Bonta put us in email contact for the first of these, ‘Orphanage‘. Since then Matt, who lives not far from me here in Australia, has been coming up this way to meet and collaborate in person. This process resulted in the second piece, ‘Everything sleeps but the night‘, and now this latest. It’s kind of radical for me to collaborate in the flesh these days, as most of my collaborations for the past decade, video and music alike, have been net-based. I welcome this recent development. For the soundtrack I selected ‘Inna Sky’ from the ‘Sutol’ album by Fremantle-based Masonik, whose sounds I have also worked with before in my poetry videos. The source footage for the image track is from Mono No Aware in New York, whose films are available on Creative Commons licence at Vimeo. I selected the sections of footage most fitting for this new video and created two layers on top of each other. This was so I could add dimensionality and fx to bring out the hand-processed film textures, as well as bring into sharper presence the ghostly, underlying images on the original film. I love hand-processed film. It seems to emphasise the direct chemical expression of light hitting celluloid and focus us on the materiality of that process. Thus the footage seemed especially relevant to the poem here, which is all about light.

جَمر الزّيتون / The Stone of The Olive by Saurav Dutt

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A poem by British Bengali author Saurav Dutt animated by Egyptian filmmaker Nissmah Roshdy, whose film The Dice Player took top honors at the ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival in 2014. The Stone of The Olive was screened at ZEBRA 2106; here’s the description from a YouTube upload of the trailer:

A young man’s soul struggles to stay attached to his homeland after the destruction of war and occupation takes over his country. As he faces violence, the only thing that ties his soul to the land is the olive tree. The film visualizes the poem “The Stone of The Olive” by british author Saurav Dutt and adopts a fantasy-like portrayal of the struggle of Palestinian refugees.

Mahmoud Taji recites the poem, and the music is by Aaron Mist. The translation in subtitles is credited to World Translation Center.

Meditations of an Old Woman (excerpt) by Theodore Roethke

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This is Lost Acres, part of director/composer Jennifer Stock’s Poetry Illumination Project. Though it contains just two lines from Roethke’s long poem “Meditations of an Old Woman”, it does manage to convey something of the poem’s aesthetic and mood. The description reads:

An illumination of lines from Theodore Roethke, centered around abstracted nightscapes. Original music comprised of processed piano sounds.

What is the Word by Samuel Beckett

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This is Qué Palabra, directed by Eduardo Yagüe: a Spanish-language interpretation of Samuel Beckett’s poem “What is the Word” with the original text in subtitles. Jenaro Talens is the translator, and Sergio Cabello the actor. It’s been screened at the 6th International Video Poetry Festival 2018 (Athens) and Festival Silêncio 2017 (Lisbon). I think it’s fair to say that it is very, very Beckettesque. Also, the closing shot is brilliant.

On the Other Side by Natalie H. Rogers

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A multi-voiced poetry film by writer and filmmaker Tova Beck-Friedman. From its webpage:

ON THE OTHER SIDE is a portrait of an aging woman as her “youngness” slips away. Based on a poem by Natalie H. Rogers, the film interweaves voice, animation and music to lay bare the essence of a woman’s vanishing youth; her aging process is irrevocable revealing a deeply fragile and touching reality.

The three narrators are Avis Boone, Duvall O’Steen, and Natalie H. Rogers. Their repetition of lines wouldn’t work for every poetry film, but it’s a good fit for this poem’s disbelieving, incredulous tone.

was by Mischa Pearlman

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Videographer Kerstin Ebert calls this

A montage about New York City, a faded relationship, a guy on a bus and a note on his hand.

This is my visualization of Mischa Pearlman’s poem “was”, alongside the beautiful song “Maelstrom” by shipwrecks-music.com.

Camera & Editing – Kerstin Ebert
Him – Casey Skodnek
Her – Freeda Lou
Poem – “was”, by Mischa Pearlman
Read by – Kurt Lash
Music – “Maelstrom”, by Shipwrecks

Filmed on Sony a7sii during the cold month of December 2017 in New York City.

Mischa Pearlman is a British music journalist and poet based in New York City.

I Know a Man by Robert Creeley

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This is Drive, a remix by Daniel Cantagallo of Robert Creeley’s poem I Know a Man. The poet’s reading is a bit stilted, pausing for the enjambed line breaks (not reproduced by the text on screen here) that were so central to his style, but somehow it makes a perfect fit with the music (“Red Tide” by loscil) and the full-tilt footage. Quoting Cantagallo’s description:

There’s always been something deeply existential about driving…the open road, the possibilty of escape from identity…and of course the threat of death by accident.

In Robert Creeley’s most famous poem, “I Know A Man”, the speaker contemplates what we can do against the darkness and chaos of modern life.

In this cheeky and moody remix, I use a recording of Robert Creeley reading his poem juxtaposed with a 1951 government public information series on automobile safety and the dangers of driving at night.

Driving on the Highway can be watched in all its glory on the Internet Archive. The National Archives description:

TRAINING FILM: On techniques on driving on highway. Sixty percent of all accidents happen at night because of poor visability and fatigue. Reduce speed, use headlights and avoid using interior lights at night.

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