What better way for Moving Poems to return from hiatus than with the latest video collaboration between artist Cheryl Gross and poet Nicelle Davis? And as a nature lover, the subject matter is close to my heart. I feel that way too few poets really grasp the severity and horror of the extinction crisis, let alone the threat it poses to the human imagination and, arguably, our very souls. I found this cycle of poems so moving, especially accompanied by Cheryl’s inimitable, unsettling animation.
Nicelle has a brief column about the collaboration up at Cultural Weekly:
Death is a charmer; nothing makes us feel more alive than brushing shoulders with Death at a bar, in our cars, or at 5,000 feet in the air. Every time we risk and survive there is a thrill. We feel like we won more life because we are not the one dying.
There is something sexy about Death, how when poachers take a machete to the face of an elephant, the gaping wound resemble a wet vagina, how sex is always better once it’s gone, or when whalers take a grenade harpoon to a whale—even more so when an entire species is gone, how life looks for life even inside a zoo.
But Death is a trickster. We can never win at Death’s game. We remain alive, while our humanity is dying. Soon, there will be nothing of our lives worth living for.
Commit to Memory: The Precipice of Extinction is a multi-platform project that addresses the eventual disappearance of our culture using animals as metaphors. We explore issues of global warming, displacement, assault and poverty.
The latest poetry animation by artist (and Moving Poems Magazine columnist) Cheryl Gross illustrates a poem by her long-time collaborator Nicelle Davis. Additional credits include “Voice: Robert Fisher, Music: David Michael Curry, Performed by: Willard Grant Conspiracy.” Cheryl’s succinct description is also worth quoting:
This video poem tells of the emotional impact that terrorist drills, conducted by police, have on a non affluent community.
A powerful, affecting poem. I like how the viewer/listener gradually comes to understand that what originally seemed like surrealist hyperbole is in fact all too real — though Cheryl’s drawings keep our attention focused on just how wrong and bizarre it is.
The latest addition to UK poet (and Liberated Words festival co-creator) Lucy English’s Book of Hours project comes from the U.S. artist (and Moving Poems Magazine columnist) Cheryl Gross. Her usual “Dr. Seuss on crack” approach to animation makes a great fit for the poem’s wry take on motherhood, I thought.
Incidentally, I believe that the call for filmmakers to contribute to the project is still open, if anyone’s interested.
These poems are from Becoming Judas by Nicelle Davis, forthcoming from Red Hen Press. The wonderfully whimsical drawings by Cheryl Gross are animated in a fairly basic style which the description at YouTube dubs “motion graphics.”