Nationality: Czech Republic

Ve znaku (In the Sign) by Jaromír Typlt

Poet: | Nationality: | Filmmaker:

Swoon‘s latest videopoem is a testimony to the way the web can break down differences of geography and language. He writes,

If there’s one thing I really like about the internet, it got to be the possibility and speed in how we can ‘meet’ and collaborate with people everywhere.

Throught the fiber I ‘met’ Jaromír Typlt.
At a certain point we started to write about poetry and videopoems and the possibility of working together.
On his website there were English translations of some of his poems.
We decided on one of them …

The translator is David Vichnar, and the poem is dedicated to the late poet and translator Ludvík Kundera. See Swoon’s blog post for the complete text in Czech and English, as well as the rest of his process notes.

May by Karel Hynek Mácha

This is The Tone of a Broken Harp, The Sound of a Snapped String performed by the composer, Jiří Kadeřábek, and Fourbythree. It uses two brief excerpts from the poem, which may be read in its entirety here. Kadeřábek writes,

This piece is inspired by the dark, almost decadent level of the Czech romantic poem May by Karel Hynek Mácha. Poetic images of love and spring nature mix with description of ruin, despair and death. The quotations, used in the piece as well as in its title, have been taken from the latest English translation of the poem. The concept of the piece as well as the exact image of the video came to me, when I suddenly and unusually took a nap one afternoon.

My spirit – my spirit – and my soul!
that’s how his words, each one distinct,
escape from his clenched lips.
Before the voice reaches the ear
these awful words are once more nothing –
they die – as they were born.

It was late evening – first of May
was evening – the time for love.
The turtledove invited love
to where the pine grove’s fragrance lay.

The video is as effective as the music, I thought. It was put together by Avion Film and Sound Postproduction in Prague.