Filmmaker: Alex Henery

Sonnet on Time by John Poch

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A poem from John Poch‘s new book Fix Quiet, winner of the 2014 New Criterion Poetry Prize, turned into a film by Alex Henery. The Vimeo description notes that it was “Shot in Lubbock Texas over the Thanksgiving weekend.”

This is the second Poch-Henery videopoem I’ve posted (Shrike was the the first). I reached out to Poch by email for more information about their working relationship. He told me that Henery is his nephew, and that he makes rock videos for Run for Cover Records, as well as playing in the UK-based melodic hardcore band Basement. (The guitar music in the soundtrack is his work, played on the $30 toy guitar shown in the video.) I asked to what extent they collaborated on the video, and Poch replied,

We definitely worked together a lot on this, and I made a lot of suggestions for changes toward this final project. I took him around in my red truck to a lot of the scenic sites in Lubbock, and he just shot the footage. And some around our house of my girls. Nevertheless, but for the poem, it’s all his work.

It’s kind of cool that even though the poet is not foregrounded in the way he might be in a spoken-word-style poetry video, he still appears in profile, unidentified, as the driver of the truck. Also, given the general influence of music videos on contemporary videopoetry, it’s fascinating to see what someone who makes rock videos for a living does with a poem. The relationship between the text and the accompanying shots is as elliptical and allusive as it gets, even as the shots themselves are sharply focused and charismatic. As with the work of such filmmakers as R.W. Perkins or Marie Craven, the populist/accessible and the experimental happily co-exist.

I see that in a tweet from 5 April, Poch mentions “a huge video project with TTU grads” in the works for next year, so it sounds as if we can expect much more from him. As he says in a follow-up tweet: “Video poems are probably a huge part of the future of poetry.”

Shrike by John Poch

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British filmmaker Alex Henery‘s adaptation of a piece by American poet John Poch. (Thanks to Nic S. for bringing it to my attention.) A great videopoem, I thought, albeit tantalizingly brief — but perhaps it’s better for the poet if we’re left hungering for more.