Posts in Category: Videopoems

Satori en veille (Standby satori) by Jean Coulombe: three selections

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These are numbers 3, 7 and 15 from a 20-part series of videopoems made for an exhibition last year in Quebec City by Jean Coulombe and Gilbert Sévigny, AKA Éditions VA. The haiku-like texts are by Coulombe, they collaborated on the videos, and the sounds are credited to Marie-Louise. The exhibition itself consisted of “20 tableaux ayant pour thématique la basse-ville de Québec. Chaque tableau était jumelé à un vidéo poème accessible sur internet, par un code QR” (20 pictures about downtown Quebec City. Each picture was twinned to a vidéo-poem linked on the web with a QR code). The exhibition catalogue is online in PDF form.

Many of the texts are coffee-themed, and I gather the exhibition was in a coffee shop. Satori in Zen means awakening, so it makes sense to refer to the effect of caffeine as a sort of satori on stand-by. There’s a preface in the catalogue called “Un petit moment” (A small moment) which I ran through Google Translate (I don’t know much French):

Each passing day gives us a chance to appreciate small moments. Stopping for coffee is one of them.

This special moment allows reflection and even in some cases a form of meditation.

What remains afterward?

Of course, in our minds a lot of things are floating around: daydreams, inner dialogues or observations. But there is also the physical and ephemeral presence of this little “ring” left by the cup of coffee on the table. One does not notice it, and yet one is witness to the discreet happiness of this tiny moment.

I love everything about this exhibition and these brief videopoems. Watch all 20 on the Éditions Victor & Anita Vimeo page, or click through to the YouTube versions from the exhibition catalogue.

seed by Asim Khan

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One of a series of videopoetry collaborations between the UK poet Asim Khan and video artist and experimental animator David C. Montgomery. Watch the others at Asim’s Vimeo page. The soundtrack on this one is courtesy of Maja Jantar (voice) and Kristof Lauwers (electronics).

Ambulance ballet by Janet Lees

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Isle of Man-based poet and artist Janet Lees has long been an important figure in the international poetry film scene, often collaborating with Terry Rooney, but recently she’s been experiencing a creative surge, she told me, and one only needs to visit her Vimeo page to see the evidence: a number of new, generally very short films that showcase her range of interests and stylistic approaches. One constant in her work is the preference for text-on-screen. She also often deploys just a single shot, which works because—as I’ve come to learn by following her on Instagram—she has a terrific eye. Her one-line description on IG: “everything is poetry”.

When You Are Quiet by Laura Theobold

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This quietly terrifying 8mm short by Andrew Theodore Balasia is a video trailer for Laura Theobald‘s new book, What My Hair Says About You, from Sad Spell Press. According the publisher’s description,

These poems break down the self—plucking the sun out of the sky, throwing bones at the void—while courting issues of identity, gender, sex, love, and loss in biting, blunt vernacular. What My Hair Says About You is a jilting confessional debut, with an ear pressed to a flowery, bone-littered floor.

Household Tips for a New Era by Joanna Fuhrman

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This brilliant author-made videopoem seemed like a good one with which to start a new season of regular posts at Moving Poems. Joanna Fuhrman is the author of five books of poetry, including Pageant (2009), winner of the Kinereth Gensler Prize from Alice James Books; and The Year of Yellow Butterflies (Hanging Loose Press, 2015). Her page at the Poetry Foundation website notes that

Her poetry is humorous and surreal, mining references from pop and high culture. Writing about Fuhrman’s work for BOMBLOG, Susie DeFord observed that Fuhrman “takes the best of the surrealist and narrative poetry, weaving social and personal stories with extreme wit, imagination.”

These qualities are certainly on display here and in the other nine videopoems which she’s recently uploaded to Vimeo. “Witty” was the first word that came to my mind when I started browsing through her work. And it’s always great to see a widely published poet with serious video-making chops.

Good Bones by Maggie Smith

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Motionpoems’ latest release is based on U.S. poet Maggie Smith‘s viral poem. As director Anaïs La Rocca explains,

In the summer of 2016, Maggie Smith sat in a Starbucks in Bexley, Ohio, and wrote a poem. “Life is short, though I keep this from my children,” it began. Smith had no idea that she was setting down the first lines of a work that would seize the mood — and social-media accounts — of so many people in the tumultuous year that was 2016.

A year later, Director Anais La Rocca teamed up with Maggie Smith to bring this poem to life in the short film “Good Bones”.

Good Bones is a heartfelt work that grapples with pain, injustice, unfairness and disillusionment— all in a fantastical story told through the eyes of a six year old girl and the voice of her mother.

Written, directed, produced and post produced by an all female team, this film embodies the power, strength and courage within women, and our responsibility to pass on and teach this courage to our little girls.

In the film, the mother takes on the role of a real estate agent: “I am trying/ to sell them the world. Any decent realtor, walking you through a real s***hole, chirps on about good bones: This place could be beautiful, right? You could make this place beautiful.”

For the text of the poem, see Waxwing, where it originally appeared — or get hold of Smith’s 2017 collection, also titled Good Bones.

Never Say Never Say Never by Patrick James Errington

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From British director Adele Myers, a film based on a poem by Patrick James Errington. Here’s the description from Vimeo:

Savouring their last moments, a couple struggle with letting go. They must, but breaking up is hard to do.

This short film is based on an original poem written by Patrick Errington. The poem was commended in the National Poetry Competition 2016, Poetry Society (UK). This film was commissioned by FilmPoem and original adaptation was produced entirely in Fujairah UAE.

The actors are Layla Al Khouri and Sanoop Din. For a full list of credits, see Poetry Film Live.