“The Dream” was featured on PBS NewsHour in 2016, and Doshi talked about how she came to write the text.
In 2008 she was commissioned to write a series of poems about migration and movement. One of them, “The Dream,” is directly based on her impressions when she first moved to North Carolina.
“I loved that there were all these houses that had front porches and there were no gates. The houses themselves seemed so welcoming. Unlike India, there were no gates around the American houses— they were all just so open. In India there is a boundary around everything.”
But the poem is also about what immigrants do to create a sense of home in a new place.
“You want to hold onto something old, but you want to create something new. You want to make the new place feel like home, even though you’re not in your home. There’s a constant tension between the past and the present.”
While this background is certainly interesting, I wish they’d acknowledged in the discussion how the film suggests other interpretations as well. (And it’s a tribute to the poet that her text has this quality of openness.) I’m not sure why I didn’t share the film back when it first came out, but to me it really speaks to our present moment of pandemic gardening and surveillance-state oppression. As someone who dabbles in ecopoetry myself, I’m fascinated by what might be called postmodern pastoralism, which is totally not a phrase I just made up (thanks, Google!) so this week that’s what we’ll be looking at: how videopoets and poetry filmmakers imagine nature and the pastoral in a world of accelerating ecological impoverishment and deprivation.
I’ve featured a lot of unique dance poetry videos here over the years, but this is certainly one of the most powerful — perhaps because the poet herself is the dancer and choreographer. This doesn’t feel like an interpretation of the poem so much as the poem itself in a different form.
Why is this our most silent, daily question, ‘what to wear?’
And is it for ourselves or someone else that we ask this?
It was writing poetry and being a published poet at 14 that spurred [Cousins] on to be a visual artist: “The best poets explain our lives back to us in the rhythm and song of our own language. I was a very lonely child befriended by poems and stories. It was a combination that made me a very happy and successful adult. Being commissioned to send a poem out in to the world in a 3 dimensional film form is very exciting to me. I cannot wait to collaborate with my poet and think up a tapestry of images that will do them visual justice. What a treat! My aim is to reach an audience who benefit as I did from the magical medicine of poetry.”
Bangalore-based spoken word poet Bharath Divakar meditates on the meaning of slam culture in this film by Krishna Prasad Raveendran, who notes:
The film tries to capture the thought process of a poet as he/she walks up on stage. The film was shot and edited for Airplane Poetry Movement, a project to give spoken word poets in India a platform to showcase their work and get discovered […] Shot on Sony A6300 (The portions of the walk) The rest of the clips were curated. Filmed and Edited by Krishna Prasad Raveendran
Nitin Nath is the poet and performer in this musical short directed by Sumesh Lal with music rearranged and produced by Govind Menon. Like yesterday’s video, this poetry film was released as a trailer for a feature-length movie. But there’s an additional connection with the world of film here: the poem is a tribute to the great Malayalam director P. Padmarajan.
India’s first spoken word musical, ‘dear padmarajan’ is a prologue to the independent English feature film ‘Humans of Someone’, slated for release this March 2016.
‘Humans of Someone’ tells the story of a man who gets obsessed with a filmmaker whose films become inextricably entwined with his own life. WATCH THIS exclusive introduction to warm up to the neighbourhood of the film.
The prologue is our heart-sized ode to the dramatic genius of P. Padmarajan, one of the greatest storytellers we’ve ever known.
To support the film, follow facebook.com/humansofsomeone
Click through to YouTube for the unusually complete credits, which include a list of the Padmarajan films mentioned plus other references in the poem.
This is flight, a videopoem by Lisa Seidenberg A.K.A. Miss Muffett. Tagore’s poem is displayed in silent-movie-style intertitles with footage of the refugee crisis from Hungary, Greece, and Austria over a soundtrack of Russian choral music — an effective, high-contrast juxtaposition, I thought.