Nationality: Canada

Address to the Amsterdam ReVersed Poetry Film Festival Symposium by Tom Konyves

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As the founding father of videopoetry, Tom Konyves is often asked to present at conferences and symposiums, but the ReVersed Poetry Film Festival in Amsterdam last month was the first to ask him to do so with reference to his own life and works. The film that he and Alex Konyves put together in response blends theory with reminiscences of some fascinating moments in avant-garde history, and includes a number of excerpts from Tom’s videopoems, some not otherwise available on the web — which is why I decided to share this here on the main site. Tom also provided the text of his talk at my request, which we’ve posted over at the forum (with added links to the full-length versions of a few of the referenced videopoems).

My favorite part is the bit about the role of chance, illustrated by a videopoem composed using the I Ching. Echoing Louis Pasteur (“Chance favors only the prepared mind”), Konyves says:

One has to be open and prepared for chance events to occur. On a perfect summer day, I decided to bring my equipment to nearby St. Helen’s Island. I found a spot to set up and began searching for an image that in retrospect I would call having a collaborative property, or at least collaborative potential. After about an hour of shooting windsurfers, I found three sailboats floating on the water. It was like a picture postcard. Suddenly I realized that behind the sailboats and a land mass there was a large ship moving across the screen.

“Collaborative potential”: yes. The world can be like that sometimes.

Anyway, the talk is full of such stories and insights. Enjoy.

Is this Beulah Land? by Al Rempel

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A new videopoem by filmmaker Stephen St. Laurent featuring the words of British Columbia-based poet Al Rempel. It came about in a uniquely collaborative fashion, according to the YouTube description: “It started with a musical piece by Jeremy [Stewart]. Al then took that music and wrote a poem to accompany it. Steph then sculpted the video and directed Teresa [DeReis] in the voice work.”

Particles by Michael e. Casteels

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A found-footage videopoem by Kevin Spenst for a text by Michael e. Casteels, which originally appeared in The Puritan (scroll down for a bio of the poet). Spenst is also a published poet, and told me that this was his first effort at a videopoem based on another poet’s work. See his YouTube channel for more of his poetry videos, and visit Puddles of Sky Press to browse chapbooks by Casteels and others.

City Center by Evelyn Lau

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This section from a film called Take Me Home is a terrific meditation on gentrification and sense of place by Jenn Strom and Sherri Rogers, who says in the description at Vimeo:

In August, I collaborated with director Jenn Strom to paint a dreamy sequence for her short film, illustrating a poem called “City Center” by BC’s poet laureate, Evelyn Lau.

What does home mean to you? For each person, it’s different and so personal – in the backyard, on stage, in Tofino, in the kitchen, or wherever family is. In Take Me Home, Knowledge Network profiles 36 British Columbians on what “home” means to them today.

See more at knowledge.ca/program/take-me-home

For more on Evelyn Lau, see the Wikipedia.

(This is Moving Poems’ last post until after the New Year. Happy Holidays and safe journeys to all.)

Endlessly by Daniel Dugas

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Poet, musician and videographer Daniel Dugas writes:

This video is part of a two channel video installation What We Take With Us, a collaborative work with Valerie LeBlanc. For the installation, we each created a distinct program of short videos poems exploring different aspects of memory and presence. Endlessly deals with the implication of what is seen and the tourist gaze. It is one of six videos that I created for the installation.

For more about the project, see its website.

expect something and nothing at once by Michelle Elrick

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A film by Canadian poet Michelle Elrick and photographer Tyler Funk based on a poem-performance installation. The description on Vimeo explains it best:

This film is part of the larger project Notes from the Fort: a poetic of inhabited space, which is a series of performance installations that create intimate places in unfamiliar environments through the play-act of fort building. Using only existing structures and a suitcase full of hand-crafted materials, each fort is constructed, inhabited, noted and dismantled in a live poetic document of sense of place and the origins of home. Notes From the Fort was under way in Reykjavík, Iceland from July-August 2012, then moved to Winnipeg, Canada from September-November 2012. The soundscape that underlies the film was made from sounds collected from the poet/director’s ancestral homes of Austria and Scotland, as well as sounds collected during the implementation of the project in Reykjavík. The poem “expect something and nothing at once” is an imagistic retelling of the poet’s personal sense of home, focusing briefly on a series of bright, vivid images that carry the listener within the walls of the fort and of the poem itself.

For more, visit the Notes from the Fort website. The film was awarded Best Cinematography at the 2013 Suffolk International Film Festival.

shadow moment by Randy Adams

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A video by Nic Sebastian, using a text from The Poetry Storehouse by Canadian media artist Randy Adams.

New poets’ works continue to appear at the Storehouse every week. (There are two more poems by Randy Adams alone.) I really hope it catches on among poetry filmmakers — I’m a big believer in the open-content philosophy behind the site. If you make a film based on something there, be sure to let me know about it. And if you teach film, or know someone who does, be sure to mention The Poetry Storehouse as a place where students can get ideas for good, short films.

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