Filmmaker: R. Vincent Moniz Jr.

Lexiconography 1 by Heid E. Erdrich and Margaret Noodin

A fascinating experiment in translation. R. Vincent Moniz, Jr. is the producer and co-director with Jonathan Thunder (art direction and animation). Poet Heid E. Erdrich collaborated with translator Margaret Noodin of Ojibwe.net, as the YouTube description makes clear:

This short poem film, created by R. Vincent Moniz, Jr. and Jonathan Thunder, experiments with animation and sound in a bi-lingual tribute to the nearly extinct wooden clothespin. Created with English words from a bi-lingual dictionary entry for the word “cloud” the poem is brought to action in both English and Anishinaabemowin.

“Lexiconography 1″ is one of a series of poems Heid E. Erdrich has collaborated on with Margaret Noodin. Heid’s original text in English (written with an awareness of Ojibwe language) is translated into Anishinaabemowin and then back into English to reveal tensions between the language as Noodin sees them. The animated poem is not a strict translation of the English. “Lexiconography 1” is available as a FREE downloadable work of art by Meghan Keane at www.broadsidedpress.org

Here’s that artwork (PDF).

I’ve long maintained that videopoetry is a great medium for communicating the power of poetry across language barriers, and I think this is a good example of that.

Noble Savage Learns To Tweet by LeAnne Howe

A videopoem by Choctaw novelist and poet LeAnne Howe and director R. Vincent Moniz, Jr., with artwork and animation by Jonathan Thunder. Though it may seem tailor-made for the film, like Heid Erdrich’s “Pre-Occupied” the poem originally appeared in text form at 99 Poems for the 99%, where the author included these notes:

1. Dutch settlers built the ‘Wall path’ sometime around 1692 to keep out the Indians. In other words it was built for white settlers to keep out undesirables to protect developing commerce. According to Hermes-Press.com, the Wall path “joined the banks of the East River with those of the Hudson River on the west.” Wall path later named Wall Street. Hence the poem’s narrator, Noblesavage, tweets irony.

2. “Indian agent” is a double entendre and can be read as Noblesavage’s agent, authorized to act on his behalf for acting roles in Hollywood westerns; or as an individual authorized to interact with American Indians authorized on behalf of the federal government.

3. “Ford and Cameron” refer to Hollywood film directors John Ford and James Cameron.

4. #AI.com is a site for “artificial intelligence.” Another irony, Noblesavage is not real, a creation of Hollywood imagemakers.

Pre-Occupied by Heid E. Erdrich

A masterpiece of collage/remix videopoetry co-directed by the author of the text, poet Heid E. Erdrich, with R. Vincent Moniz, Jr. Art direction, animation and effects are by Jonathan Thunder. The excellent audio track is the work of Gabriel Siert, and additional visual art is credited to Carolyn Lee Anderson, Andrea Carlson, and Angie Erdrich. The synopsis on Erdrich’s website reads:

“Pre-Occupied” is a new and experimental form, the poem-film. Originally written for the website 99 Poems for the 99%, poet Heid E. Erdrich created a visual landscape of associations and references that match the tremendous irony of how the word “occupy” can be meant. The film version of this poem is a collaborative collage that means to reveal the distracted human mind at a particular point in history. Released in early 2013, the film inadvertently anticipated the Idle No More Movement. [link added]

Erdrich has made several other poetry films as well, including a new one that should be released shortly, according to Saara Myrene Raappana of Motionpoems, who kindly emailed me after attending an AWP panel at which Erdrich shared her films.