Nationality: Spain

El hombre hueco / The Hollow Man by Ángel Guinda

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A poem by the Spanish poet Ángel Guinda in a film interpretation by Sándor M. Salas of Anandor Producciones. Mohsen Emadi provided the English translation used in the subtitles, and the music is by Anacinta Alonso. I shared another Guinda/Salas collaboration back in 2014, but was reminded about this one by a share at the The Film & Video Poetry Society Facebook page — currently one of the most popular and active alternatives to Moving Poems for a steady stream of good poetry videos. (They’re also on Twitter, for the Facebook-phobic.)

“Y era el demonio de mi sueño” (And he was the evil spirit of my dreams) by Antonio Machado

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Y era el demonio de mi sueño, el ángel
más hermoso. Brillaban
como aceros los ojos victoriosos,
y las sangrientas llamas
de su antorcha alumbraron
la honda cripta del alma.

—¿Vendrás conmigo? —No, jamás; las tumbas
y los muertos me espantan.
Pero la férrea mano
mi diestra atenazaba.

—Vendrás conmigo… Y avancé en mi sueño
cegado por la roja luminaria.
Y en la cripta sentí sonar cadenas,
y rebullir de fieras enjauladas.

(poema de Antonio Machado)

And he was the evil spirit of my dreams, the most handsome
of all angels. His victorious eyes
shot fire like pieces of steel,
and the flames that fell
from his torch like blood
lit up the deep dungeon of the soul.

“Would you like to come with me?” “No, never! Tombs
and dead bodies frighten me.”
But his iron hand
gripped my right hand.

“You will come with me…” And in my dreams I walked
blinded by his red torch.
And in the dungeon I heard the sound of chains
and of beasts stirring in their cages.

(translated by Robert Bly)

Eduardo Yagüe (GIFT Producciones) made this videopoem in 2014 as an homage to the great Spanish poet Antonio Machado on the 75th anniversary of his exile and death. Eduardo’s reading is exceptionally good, and slow-paced enough that even those with just a little bit of Spanish should be able to follow along. Music by Jared C. Balogh accompanies the voiceover.

I first learned this poem (number LXIII from Galerías) through Robert Bly’s translation (above) in Roots and Wings: Poetry from Spain 1900-1975. (Alan S. Trueblood also translated it for a bilingual edition of the selected poems, but not quite as effectively.)

Péndulo (Pendulum) by Celia Parra

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This is PalabrapeliculA (WordmoviE), directed by Belén Montero of Versogramas and the poet herself, Celia Parra. The poem, read by Parra, is in Galician; be sure to click the CC icon for Spanish or English subtitles, translated by Parra and Mylece Burling. As with yesterday’s video, I learned about PalabrapeliculA thanks to the 2015 Ó Bhéal shortlist, which includes this thumbnail bio of Parra:

Celia Parra is a film producer and award-winning poet. With experience in literature, audiovisual communication and production, she has worked for the most representative Galician producer companies. As a poet, she has received diverse prizes (Ánxel Casal, Avelina Valladares…), published an individual poem collection (No berce das mareas, Ed. Fervenza), an audiopoetry CD (RECVERSO) and participated in several collective publications. She currently drives her creative processes towards the hybridisation between poetry and other formats.

She certainly sounds like someone to watch.

Best of luck to all the filmmakers in the 3rd Ó Bhéal International Poetry-Film Competition, and thanks to the organizers for sharing such a well-annotated shortlist for the benefit of those of us who can’t make it to Cork this weekend.

La semana sin tí / The week without you and Anti-Yo / Anti-Me (excerpts) by Tomás Segovia

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This is Platillo Puro, Spanish director Bruno Teixidor‘s “homenaje en videoarte al poeta hispano-mexicano Tomás Segovia” (homage in videoart to the Spanish-Mexican poet Tomás Segovia). He’s released both color (above) and black-and-white versions. Be sure to click the “CC” icon at the bottom to read the English subtitles—the work of translators Gabriela Lendo and Lucas Laursen, who were close friends of the poet. Also, be advised that the film contains full frontal nudity, so watch with discretion.

The title literally means pure dish, but Bruno told me in an email that it’s from a Segovia poem in which platillo refers to the pan on a balance scale. The voice on the soundtrack is Segovia’s, cinematography is by Thiago Moraes, and the actors are Leila Amat and Rafael de Labra. The two poetry selections are separated by a short statement from the poet about his relationship to the literature world as the credits roll, setting us up for the excerpt from “Anti-Yo” at the very end. All in all, a very effective homage, I thought.

Interiorismo by Hernán Talavera and Chema Araque

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First of all, let me make it clear that the director/producers of this film, Hernán Talavera and Chema Araque (A.K.A. Chema Arake) do not claim that it’s a poetry film; that’s my contention. Talavera, also credited as writer, has made films for his own poetry and for poems by Alfonsina Storni and Alejandra Pizarnik, all of which I’ve shared here, and Araque too has made videopoems. But this is a much more ambitious project, a nearly 12-minute portrait of a derelict palace in Spain. It has garnered numerous awards. The directors say:

The corpse of a palace in ruins turns into its own mausoleum.

Interiorism searchs for a Zen vision in which man is totally integrated into his surroundings. That is why Hernán Talavera and Chema Araque highlighted the most organic part of the building, and they watch as nature recovers its primitive space: the light, water, plants, birds, insects… break the barrier between what is natural and what is artificial, by invading a space built for people. Part of the entire process is much like a documentary. The directors walked around the palace many times totally open to any suggestions forthcoming from the place itself. The process took them three years.

What makes it a poetry film, in my estimation, is the inclusion of a text in the soundtrack, a medical diagnosis voiced by Luis Fernando Ríos—or rather, the evocative interplay between that very clinical text and the lyrical montage of images.

Libro de huellas (The Book of Traces) by Ángel Guinda

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I’m tethering my life
so the storm doesn’t escape me.

To think
costs the unthinkable.

A series of gnomic pronouncements, as if in response to an unseen interrogator, accompany shots of the poet’s visible traces: his identity papers, fingerprints, and typewritten words. Ángel Guinda stars in this gem of a book trailer, the work of Charles Olsen, a New Zealander currently residing in Spain, and the production company Antena Blue. (Be sure to click the CC icon on the lower right to read the subtitles—a very good English translation.)

This was one of two Olsen/Antena Blue films selected for screening at ZEBRA this year. Olsen wrote about his experience at ZEBRA for the big idea/te aria nui.

The second film poem, included in the section “Wracking Your Brains” – our preoccupations with the past, doubts and spiritual unrest – was a piece we made for the Spanish poet Ángel Guinda, “Libro de Huellas” (The Book of Traces) where, in a series of striking aphorisms, he reflects on memory, religion, and power.

[…]

I began making film poems using my own poetry and that of my wife, the Colombian writer Lilián Pallares, with whom I direct the production company Antena Blue, “The observed word”. There is a great freedom to explore all the aspects of the image, sound, text, words, narrative, pace, and as a poet-filmmaker it is not necessarily the poem that has to come first. It may be an image or a personal story that lends itself to a poetic treatment later inspiring the text or a filmmaker may piece together fragments of dialogues, sounds and images to create a collage of words and images.

Read the rest.

¿Las oyes cómo piden realidades…? (Do you hear how they beg for realities?) by Pedro Salinas

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Poem and voice by the great Spanish poet Pedro Salinas (1891-1951), one of the Generation of ’27 along with Lorca, Aleixandre, Alberti, and so many other wonderful writers. Click on the CC icon to read the English subtitles (my own translation).

I made an earlier version of this five years ago with the subtitles baked into the video, and when someone recently asked me for a version without them, I realized I’d have to completely redo it, both because I no longer have the software I used then, and also because the earlier version was too low-resolution. I found and used the same soundtrack, but unfortunately I don’t remember who’s responsible for the music, only that it had been released to the public domain on archive.org. The audio of Salinas comes from palabravirtual.com. The footage of amorous garter snakes is my own, filmed in April 2009.

In the subtitles, the short phrase in brackets appears in Salinas’s published text but not in his recitation. Since the line means “which is the nothing,” or “which is nothingness,” I guess he decided to make it literal by reading nothing.

Incidentally, for other Vimeo users who might be wondering about the subtitles, I used Amara (it’s free and easy to use) and followed their instructions for uploading the file to Vimeo. For those of us with fairly basic video editing software, I think it’s actually easier to add subtitles in this way, and I’m thinking it might be a good idea to start adding closed captioning to English-language videopoems as well, and quit discriminating against the hearing-impaired.