Nationality: Ireland

the one about the bird by Melissa Diem

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A striking videopoem by Irish poet, writer and visual artist Melissa Diem. Here’s the description from Vimeo:

Screened at the BELFAST FILM FESTIVAL 2013

A poetry film based on the poem, the one about the bird, written by Melissa Diem and filmed in Ireland. It explores the human attraction to horrific events through the medium of film. And the idea of the desire to stop and begin again when a situation, an experience, humanity… seems to have gone so horrendously wrong that it is beyond the point of return and can never be undone.

The poem and the visuals were influenced by a black and white film (source unknown) in which children stone a wounded bird to death. I saw this clip of film at a young age and the scenes and all they implied were so startling to me that I have never forgotten the images. Other cinematic influences include the film ‘Don’t Look Now’ in which images suddenly surface in a fleeting glimpse like repressed memories shifting through consciousness.

A Drinking Song by William Butler Yeats

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Another of Othniel Smith’s videopoems made with free classic film footage from the Prelinger archives and free audio from Librivox. What makes this one work for me, oddly enough, is the lack of music juxtaposed with the dancing scene.

He Wishes For The Cloths of Heaven by William Butler Yeats

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Film by Gianni Marini; voice by Paul Buchanan. This is the poem also known as “Aedh Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven”:

Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

According to the Wikipedia, the poem was featured in an episode of the BBC television series Ballykissangel, where it was recited by one of the characters.

Day by Dylan Townsend

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A videopoem “following the rhythm of a day… shots from Dublin, Ireland and New York,” according to Irish filmmaker-poet Dylan Townsend. This is an excerpt from a longer, not-yet-released film called Shadowsmiths. See Townsend’s videos on Vimeo for more excerpts.

For two NATO soldiers… by Paul Perry

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The complete title of the poem is “For two NATO soldiers who drowned in an attempt to recover supplies from a river in the province of Badghis, Western Afghanistan, November, 2009”; Swoon calls the videopoem Drift. Irish poet Paul Perry’s text contrasts sharply in mood with the video images. As Swoon writes in a blog post:

The main images came not from me but I used footage from the site Beachfront B-Roll. Crisp and clean footage. Idyllic images with water, birds and logs.

Movement and juxtaposition I found with Cullen McHale. This footage of young men, alive, in their prime and having fun with searching kicks in innocent danger forms a perfect contrast with the content of the poem. Yet they tell a story of what was, or could have been.

I only had to add a layer of ‘light’ and some treated photographs to add to the general atmosphere of the video.

Wax Ear by Alice Lyons

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A short poem by Alice Lyons made into a film by Orla Mc Hardy. As with The Polish Language, this appears to have been a collaboration: Lyons is credited with 2-D animation, and Mc Hardy with photography, compositing, computer animation and sound.

The Polish Language by Alice Lyons

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This is just about the most inventive typographic animation I’ve even seen — a gorgeous and moving tribute to the power of Polish poetry by American-Irish poet and artist Alice Lyons and Irish artist Orla Mc Hardy. The film has its own website at, whence the following description:

The Polish Language is an animated film-poem about the subversive force of art and the renewal of poetry in the whispery language of Polish.

Based on the poem of the same title, the film pays homage to the revitalization of poetry in the Polish language in the 20th century. Using hand-drawn, stop-motion and time-lapse animation techniques, the poem unfolds onscreen, with typography as a key visual element. It visual style is loosely based on underground publications in Poland in the 1970s and 1980s, known as Bibula. A chorus of voices sampling poems in Polish, woven together with original music by sound designer Justin Spooner, combine to create a powerful score in a film of ’emotional depth and technical sophistication’ (Jury, Galway Film Fleadh 2009, award for Best Animation).

The Polish Language is at once a playful and solemn journey into the sensuality, beauty and power of language.

Lyons wrote the poem, while Mc Hardy took the lead on the animation. For full credits and a list of screenings, see the website’s About page. The poets sampled in the soundtrack are Tadeusz Różewicz, Zbigniew Herbert and Wisława Szymborska.