Filmmaker: Cheryl Gross

The Poster Reads by Nicelle Davis

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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.

Shop by Lucy English

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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.

Spell Against Impermanence by Kim Addonizio

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Cheryl Gross’ inimitable animations accompany Kim Addonizio’s reading.

In the Circus of You (four poems) by Nicelle Davis

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Cheryl Gross’ animated films for poems by Nicelle Davis are the focus of this month’s Swoon’s View column by Marc Neys at Awkword Paper Cut. I realized I’d never shared In the Circus of You, so this seemed a good opportunity to do so. Neys writes:

You want to take your time with these. The poetry is clear and Nicelle’s voice works smoothly with the music. At first I thought these were too literal, yet I couldn’t stop watching them over and over again. Cheryl’s illustrations are just stunning and they allow the audience to comprehend and recognize the significance of the words. But it’s the way she weaves drawing after drawing combined with typography around the soundtrack that reels you in. You feel surrounded by the images, overwhelmed by each pen stroke. The drawings appear to be simple, but are alive and full of detail.

In the Circus of You serves a dual purpose as a poetry film and a trailer for a poetry collection of the same name, with animations of four of its poems: “Down the Trapeze of Bird Bones,” “The Clown in My Gut,” “I Know How to Bark,” and “Entering the Big Top of the Self Requires Help.” According to a page at the author’s website,

In the Circus of You morphs cultural clichés into living language again. This collection deals with themes of sanity, motherhood, monogamy, creative impulse, appropriation, and self-creation to create a sideshow of abnormalities that define what it is to be human. Poet Nicelle Davis and illustrator Cheryl Gross create a grotesque peep-show that opens the velvet curtains on the beautiful complications of life. The poems and images in this collection create a novel in verse where dead pigeons talk, clowns hide it the chambers of the heart, and the human body turns itself inside out to born again as a purely sensory creature.

This circus will be brought to you by the good people at Rose Metal Press in Spring of 2014.

Becoming Judas: five poems by Nicelle Davis

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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.”