Nationality: Belgium

Catwalk by Bernard Dewulf

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Judith Dekker notes in the Vimeo description that this was the

Last poem Bernard Dewulf wrote as city poet of Antwerp Belgium. Music composed by Doug Keith, an american musician living in NewYork. And the cat was shot (without being hurt) in the town of Dunbar Scotland. Translation courtesy of Vlaams Fonds voor de Letteren.

For those who know Dutch, there’s also a version without subtitles. The version above appears in the latest issue of Poetry Film Live, along with the text, some stills, and a bio of the filmmaker. Check it out. And for more of Dewulf’s work in English, visit Poetry International Web, as well as his page here on Moving Poems.

Marchant grenu / Walking Grainy by Henri Michaux

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This film version of an Henri Michaux poem by Francois Vogel was one of my favorites at the 2014 ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival. The program description:

A whimsical look at movement in the city. While reciting the poem, Francois Vogel »walks grainy« on the stairs of Montmartre, in Paris.

For this version, Vogel recites an English translation of the poem, but if you know French, the original is also on Vimeo.

(Hat-tip: ZEBRA Poetry Film Club.)

Goddank / Thank heavens by Max Temmerman

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A day late for American Thanksgiving (I was busy hanging with the fam), here’s a Judith Dekker film of a poem by Flemish poet Max Temmerman, with Willem Groenewegen’s English translation in subtitling (and also in the Vimeo description). Dekker notes:

Max Temmerman’s poems and my images are related in a way. They both show the small movements, moments, objects and try to slow down around them. All the images for this one are shot in a time i had to say goodbye to one home to move to another. They are glimpses from both homes. The soundtrack is made by multi-instrumentalist Jon Birdsong.

Click through to Vimeo to read the rest.

Gloed / Glow by Bart Moeyaert

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A text by the Flemish poet Bart Moeyaert in a filmpoem by Dutch photographer and filmmaker Judith Dekker. Commissioned by the library of Genk, Belgium, it was screened at this year’s ZEBRA festival as part of their focus on Dutch and Flemish poetry films. Moeyart supplies the reading used in the soundtrack, and the English translation in titling (also included in the description at Vimeo) is by Astrid Alben.

Amerika (The Man Who Disappeared) by Alastair Cook

This is Filmpoem 50, a collaboration between Scottish filmpoet Alastair Cook and 20 other poets hailing from Scotland, England, Ireland, the U.S., South Africa and Belgium. I have a rule against posting films containing my own poetry to Moving Poems, but in this case my lines account for only 1/20th of the poem, so I decided not to be precious about it. Besides, it’s too important a poetry film not to feature. The composition process involved Alastair sending each writer a snippet of found film. To quote his original email:

You can be trite, erudite, short or shorter (no more than three or four lines) but the brief is this—Americana, the 1950s, travel.

All the clips are from the same batch of film and the artistic conceit is that a narrative will thread through these. This batch of film has this family move through America over the years, these boys grow up and some of the footage I have is heart-wrenching, always tinged with the salient and sombre fact that I source these from house-clearances, that the death of the filmmaker releases this footage to me.

The official description, from Vimeo and the Filmpoem website, reads:

Watch Alastair Cook’s brand new film, three years in the making, with new writing by twenty of the world’s best poets, sountracked by composer Luca Nasciutia and read by poet Rachel McCrum – screens worldwide from Autumn 2016. New ekphrasis work by poets John Glenday, Vicki Feaver, Stevie Ronnie, Janie McKie, Brian Johnstone, Jo Bell, Andrew Philip, Linda France, Dave Bonta, Angela Readman, Michael Vandebril, Gerard Rudolf, George Szirtes, Emily Dodd, Ian Duhig, Rachel McCrum, Robert Peake, Polly Rowena Atkin, Pippa Little and Vona Groarke.

This was originally planned as Filmpoem 40, but got delayed for a number of reasons, during which I believe the concept changed and matured a bit. I list Alastair as the chief poet here because it was his concept from start to finish, and he edited and moved around the submissions after they all came in. The decision to have a single narrator was, I think, a good one, but it’s amazing how well the conjoined text holds together on its own. Clearly, this is an approach to filmpoetry/videopoetry composition deserving of further experimentation. Alastair had been building on what he learned in making his Twenty Second Filmpoem back in 2012, which also involved 20 poets and some found footage.

In other Filmpoem-related news, I see that there will be a fourth Filmpoem Festival, or series of festivals, dubbed Filmpoem Sixteen, though it doesn’t sound as if we can expect an open call:

Filmpoem Sixteen will focus on a series of invited curated events. The first of these is at the Hauge Centre in Ulvik in Norway, where Alastair is artist in residence in May. Alastair has directed The Sword, a new film working with Hauge’s incredible landscape poetry, alongside readings by John Glenday, cinematography by James Norton and sound by Luca Nasciuti; the film will premier on May 12th. Alongside this new film, the Hauge Centre will screen a Scottih retrospective of Alastair’s work and selected works by others from the Filmpoem Festival submission archive.

Check back for further announcements as our new director Helmie Stil brings her own flavour to Filmpoem.

Gecompliceerde Schaduwen / Complicated Shadows by Swoon (Marc Neys)

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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

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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.)

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