Nationality: Canada

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.

To This Day by Shane Koyczan

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Canadian performance poet Shane Koyczan headed up this collaborative project, which has its own website. The YouTube version has gone viral, with more than 5 million views in the first week. Quoting the website:

To This Day Project is a project based on a spoken word poem written by Shane Koyczan called “To This Day”, to further explore the profound and lasting impact that bullying can have on an individual.

Schools and families are in desperate need of proper tools to confront this problem. We can give them a starting point… A message that will have a far reaching and long lasting effect in confronting bullying.

Animators and motion artists brought their unique styles to 20 second segments that will thread into one fluid voice.

This collaborative volunteer effort will demonstrate what a community of caring individuals are capable of when they come together.

This was produced by Leah Nelson, Jorge R. Canedo Estrada and Alicia Katz at Giant Ant. The component 20-second clips were each posted to Vimeo by their creators, if you’d like to investigate any of them further. I’ll just reproduce the list of 86 animators and motion artists from the credits page of the website: Ryan Kothe, Mike Healey, Will Fortanbary, Brian San, Diego De la Rocha, Gizelle Manalo, Adam Plouff, Mike Wolfram, Hyun Min Bae, Oliver Sin, Viraj Ajmeri, Vishnu Ganti, Yun Wang, Boris Wilmot, Cameron Spencer, DeAndria Mackey, Matt Choi, Reimo Õun, Samantha Bjalek, Eli Treviño, Ariel Costa, Caleb Coppock, James Mabery, Samir Hamiche, Waref Abu Quba, Deo Mareza and Clara, Josh Parker, Scott Cannon, Thomas McKeen, Kaine Asika, Marcel Krumbiegel, Teresa del Pozo, Eric Paoli Infanzón, Maxwell Hathaway, Rebecca Berdel, Zach Ogilvie, Anand Mistry, Dominik Grejc, Gideon Prins, Lucy Chen, Mercedes Testa, Rickard Bengtsson, Stina Seppel, Daniel Göttling, Julio C. Kurokodile, Marilyn Cherenko, Tim Darragh, Jaime Ugarte, Joe Donaldson, Josh Beaton, Margaret Schiefer, Rodrigo Ribeiro, Ryan Kaplan, Yeimi Salazar, Daniel Bartels, Joe Donaldson, Daniel Molina, Sitji Chou, Tong Zhang, Luc Journot, Vincent Bilodeau, Amy Schmitt, Bert Beltran, Daniel Moreno Cordero, Marie Owona, Mateusz Kukla, Sean Procter, Steven Fraser, Aparajita R, Ben Chwirka, Cale Oglesby, Igor Komolov, Markus Magnusson, Remington McElhaney, Tim Howe, Agil Pandri, Jessie Tully, Sander Joon, Kumphol Ponpisute, James Waters, Chris Koelsch, Ronald Rabideau, Alessandro & Manfredi, Andrea López, and Howey Mitsakos.

Homenaxe ao mineral do repolo (Homage to the Mineral of Cabbage) by Erín Moure

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This is Little Theatres, a jaw-droppingly good stop-motion short directed and animated by Stephanie Dudley. It’s based on a poem in Galician, the language of northwest Spain, by the Canadian poet Erín Moure, from her book, Little Theatres (Teatriños).

The film has its own website. According to the About page,

The poem is the second in a series of six by Erín in her award-winning book, Little Theatres. Each poem is an homage to a simple, humble food, such as potatoes, onions, and cabbage. The poems examine our relationship to food, and draw new insights to how these basic foods relate to life, as well as how we relate to each other. In looking more closely at the simple, everyday elements of life, we learn to appreciate their beauty.

The film Little Theatres is an interpretation of what Little Theatres are. It is an exploration of layers: layers of space, and layers of words, both spoken and written. The exploration begins and ends with a simple cabbage.

The film is also available with subtitles in French. (Moure’s multilingual abilities were a source of confusion for me at first, since the Wikipedia article about her mentions that her mother is from the part of western Ukraine known as Galicia — unrelated to the Galicia in the Iberian peninsula except inasmuch as both regions were originally settled by Celts. To compound the confusion, I’ve filed this film under both Canada and Galicia in the index, since the poem, if not the poet, is clearly Galician.)