Nationality: Canada

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 S., 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.

Omelet by Fiona Tinwei Lam

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The poet, Fiona Tinwei Lam, also directed and produced this film, with animation by Toni Zhang and Claire Stewart. The text has appeared in Enter the Chrysanthemum (Caitlin Press, 2009) and Poet to Poet, edited by Julia Roorda and Elana Wolff (Guernica Editions, 2012).

The Hand by Gary Barwin

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Gary Barwin wrote the text and music; Jenna Mariash directed. Despite the somewhat literal correspondence of video images to text, I found the former interesting and diverse enough that they avoid creating a feeling of redundancy, and instead contribute to a thoroughly enjoyable videopoem.

He Talked in His Sleep by Al Rempel

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A great use of Prelinger material — in this case, family movies from 1929 — by Canadian poet Al Rempel, working with his usual editing assistant Steph St Laurent.

Transfiguration by Steven McCabe

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In this new videopoem by Steven McCabe, the text is presented in silent-film-style title cards, and in three different versions in succession: the first in English, the second in French and the third in Spanish. (Pierre L’Abbé is credited with the French translation and Beatriz Hausner with the Spanish.) Especially for monolingual English viewers, it’s interesting that repetition does not necessarily lead to increasing familiarity, but rather a kind of defamiliarization. As with certain K-pop music video mega-hits on YouTube, not knowing what all the words mean can actually add to the charm of a short film sometimes.

Speaking of music: Brenda Joy Lem did the fantastic drumming in the soundtrack. In a blog post introducing the video, McCabe writes:

We originally filmed and recorded the drumming over two years ago for a different project which never saw the light of day. In the meantime I become interested in juxtaposing silent footage with live action. I realized we could use silent movie title cards for the poetry and not compete with the sound of drumming. The poem Transfiguration was originally published in my 1999 collection Radio Picasso (watershedBooks). My poetry videos can be found @ http://www.youtube.com/mccabesteven

Right Through the Earth by Al Rempel

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An intriguing, experimental videopoem filmed and directed by the author, Canadian poet Al Rempel. From the description on YouTube:

Right Through the Earth is a video-poem taken from the poem in my book, This Isn’t the Apocalypse We Hoped For. Steph St. Laurent of VideoNexus helped with post-production work & Isaac Smeele composed the original music for the sound-track.

This Isn’t the Apocalypse We Hoped For is due to be published this month by Caitlin Press.

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