A new poetry film by Rachel Laine is always worth waiting for. This one features a poem and recitation by UK poet Charlotte Henson.
When a sighing begins
In the violins
Of the autumn-song,
My heart is drowned
In the slow sound
Languorous and long
Pale as with pain,
Breath fails me when
The hours tolls deep.
My thoughts recover
The days that are over
And I weep.
And I go
Where the winds know,
Broken and brief,
To and fro,
As the winds blow
A dead leaf.
(trans. by Arthur Symons, 1902)
For alternate translations and analysis of the original, see textetc.com.
British filmmaker Rachel Laine shot this on a Canaon 600D and edited in Fainl Cut Pro and Logic. It uses music by Carillion and Nic S.’s reading from Pizzicati of Hosanna.
This video captures the nightmarish aura of the poem, but at the same time becomes a separate work of art. It does more than interpret the poem; it reinvents the poem in a new medium. Its propulsive imagery, editing, and soundtrack create an unnerving sense of urgency that the original never attained, but that it greatly profits from in its second life as a video.
This video gives precedence to the poem’s words, but without sacrificing or marginalizing visuals. In fact, the dense, gloomy background visuals and monotone music heighten the tragic sense of the poem, punctuating its doomsday storyline and elegiac atmosphere.
The most visually crisp of the videos submitted, it also uses some of the most unexpected imagery, as when the word “cornfield” is blackened out in the text. And how can you not love that ukele being plinked in the background.
Thanks again to all the entrants, congratulations to the winners, and thanks to Howie for acting as judge. (Those are his blurbs for each of the prize winners.) I’m very pleased with how this contest turned out: the goal was to showcase a diversity of approaches to the poetry-film or videopoetry genre, and I think we succeeded in doing that.
I am very open to suggestions for future contests. I don’t want to sponsor contests so often that they become a chore, but I’m not sure I want to wait a whole year before doing another one, either, so maybe in three to six months… I also don’t want to do the exact same thing next time with a different poem, unless perhaps it’s a radically different kind of poem; I’d rather come up with a novel challenge. Feel free to email me or leave comments with your ideas.
Runner-up in the Manchester Cathedral International Religious Poetry Competition 2010. Published in anthologies, Stand Magazine and Poetry & Audience. … Currently writing a chapter on ‘Performance’ for an academic book.