Filmmaker: Swoon

Aleppo by Howie Good

Poet: | Nationality: | Filmmaker:

A new videopoem by Marc Neys A.K.A. Swoon for a poem by Howie Good. Soundbites from Al Jazeera appear in the soundtrack together with Marc’s original music. When he shared it on Facebook, he included a brief note about its origin:

Howie Good wrote a strong poem, Aleppo. It called me and in one burst I created this video/soundpiece yesterday. Enjoy!

And a few days later, he indicated it might lead to more Swoon videopoems this year. Fingers crossed!

Like the blues by Carrie Jenkins and Ray Hsu

Poet: , | Nationality: | Filmmaker:

From Marc Neys AKA Swoon, this is his first new videopoem after a year-long break from filmmaking. It was created in collaboration with the Vancouver-based writers Carrie Jenkins and Ray Hsu for the Metaphysics of Love project’s first interdisciplinary workshop. Marc included footage from Dementia 13 (Coppola), Lodewijk van Eekhout and IICADOM, in addition to his own camera work, and composed the music for the soundtrack.

I would encourage all poets to read and think about the Metaphysics of Love’s project summary. An excerpt:

As regards contemporary North American poetry in English, romantic love has fallen out of favour to the extent that attempts to pursue it in professionalized contexts are now somewhat isolated, though it remains a popular topic among poets working outside such contexts. This trend can be traced back to “Modernism”, and to the institutionalization of poetic practice (and Creative Writing as a discipline) in the twentieth century. Canonical love poetries tend to be derived from Early Modern works and, to a lesser extent, eighteenth and nineteenth century poetry. Students of poetic accounts of love are these days more likely to encounter “courtly love” themes in Geoffrey Chaucer, or the sonnets of Shakespeare, than contemporary romantic love poetry.

Read the rest.

De Tak / The Branch (La Branche) by Yves Bonnefoy

Poet: | Nationality: | Filmmaker:

And I return, a shadow on the white ground,
To your sleep that haunts my memory,
I pluck you from your dream, which scatters,
Being only water filled with light.

To mark the July 1 death of the great Yves Bonnefoy, Marc Neys A.K.A. Swoon made public what he called “an older (and personal) videopoem, never released before,” featuring his own reading of Bonnefoy’s poem “La Branche” in a Dutch translation by Jan H. Mysjkin with the English translation by Alison Croggon in subtitles.

Gecompliceerde Schaduwen / Complicated Shadows by Swoon (Marc Neys)

Poet: | Nationality: | Filmmaker:

With 238 videos, most of them poetry films, up on Vimeo, the prolific Belgian artist Marc Neys A.K.A. Swoon is taking a well-deserved break from videopoetry this year to focus on one of his other passions: composing electronic music. This is one of the last videos he uploaded before his sabbatical, and unusually for him, it uses a text of his own composition, with English subtitles translated by Annmarie Sauer. He’s recycled some footage from Jan Eerala, but everything else—”Words, voice, concept, camera, editing & music”—is his own.

This is something that I think every serious poetry filmmaker should attempt at least once. You don’t have to be an expert poet to make a powerful and effective videopoem; you simply have to have a well-tuned artist’s eye and musician’s ear for what kinds of sequences and juxtapositions work, so that the whole might become greater than the sum of its parts. Marc makes it look easy, but of course it isn’t. Of all the poetry filmmakers I know, he may be the closest to logging those 10,000 hours of practice supposedly required to turn one into a master.

Balliwamta by Velimir Lobsang

Poet: | Nationality: | Filmmaker:

On this day of international solidarity with Belgium, I’m sharing the most Belgian videopoem I could find. Marc Neys A.K.A. Swoon is the filmmaker, credited on Vimeo with “concept, add. mouthsounds & music, editing & grading,” and his fellow countryman Velimir Lobsang contributed the reading and the soundpoem. In an old blog post about an earlier collaboration, Marc explained the poet’s pseudonym:

‘Velimir’ is de voornaam van de Russische futurist ‘Chlebnikov’ en ‘Lobsang’ is een Tibetaanse naam die zoiets betekent als ‘positieve, heilzame studie’, aldus J.V. een ex-collega die onder het wonderlijke pseudoniem Velimir Lobsang gedichten schrijft.
(“Velimir” is the [first] name of the Russian futurist Khlebnikov and “Lobsang” is a Tibetan name that means something like “positive, wholesome study,” says JV, a former colleague who writes poems under the strange pseudonym Velimir Lobsang.)

Hotelsituation, langes Liegen / Hotel Situation, Long Recumbency by Steffen Popp

Poet: | Nationality: | Filmmaker:

A film by Marc Neys (AKA Swoon) using a poem by the contemporary German poet Steffen Popp. The poet’s recitation and the English translation by Christian Hawkey were sourced from Lyrikline. The choice to have the untranslated audio version first, followed by the translation as text-on-screen, is unusual, but I think it works, echoed as it is by the vertically split screen. It does mean, however, that more than two-thirds of the film is devoted to the slower-moving English version.

Envoi by Hugo Claus

Poet: | Nationality: | Filmmaker:

Claus’s poem is adapted to film by his fellow Belgian Marc Neys AKA Swoon. The poet’s reading is courtesy of Lyrikline and the English translation is by John Irons. Marc used footage by Jan Earala, but everything else—concept, music, editing—are his own.

Marc told me recently that he’s moving away from writing process notes, preferring to let the films speak for themselves, as witnessed by his new, stripped-down, portfolio-style website. Last year, he made a pair of films for another Claus poem, “Halloween,” the second one also using footage from Jan Earala. Here’s hoping that more Hugo Claus filmpoems might be in the offing.

12345...22