Nationality: Spain

Péndulo (Pendulum) by Celia Parra

Poet: | Nationality: , | Filmmaker: ,

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

Poet: | Nationality: , | Filmmaker:

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

Poet: , | Nationality: | Filmmaker: ,

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

Poet: | Nationality: | Filmmaker:

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

Poet: | Nationality: | Filmmaker:

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.

Todos esos momentos se perderan (All these moments will be lost in time) by Dier

Poet: | Nationality: | Filmmaker:

In celebration of World Poetry Day, here’s a video which may not fit some people’s idea of a poem at all — but which, to my way of thinking, represents the purest form of videopoetry. In fact, it was brought to my attention by videopoetry pioneer Tom Konyves (more about that in a minute). It’s the work of the Madrid-based filmmaker and graffiti artist Dier, and incorporates two kinds of found text: in the soundtrack, a monologue from the movie Blade Runner, and as images on the screen, the erased words of painted-over graffiti. The former is (eventually) translated into Spanish-language graffiti, but it’s the “lost” words that are uniquely able to communicate — or fail to communicate — in all languages, due to the universality of silence. This struck me as especially suggestive today, given the emphasis of World Poetry Day on endangered languages and censored or silenced poets, as well as on dialogue between poetry and the other arts. To quote from the UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova’s message,

Today, contemporary forms of poetry, from graffiti to slam, enable young people to become engaged in the practice and renew it by opening the door to a new space for creation. The forms evolve, but the poetic impulse remains intact. […] As a deep expression of the human mind and as a universal art, poetry is a tool for dialogue and rapprochement.

In videopoetry as Konyves conceives of it, the meshing of different media goes well beyond mere dialogue, however. In a review of this video, “Loss, Memory, Spectacle, Redemption: A Hermeneutic Approach to Dier’s Videopoem Todos esos momentos se perderan (All Those Moments Will Be Lost In Time),” he reminds us that, in his view, “the ‘poetry’ in a videopoem is not the privileged ‘text’ — it is the moment of intersection between the text, image and sound.”

In “Todos esos momentos se perderan”, Dier succeeded in discovering the collaborative properties of the elements of text, image and sound. (Not all texts, images and soundtracks can be said to have ‘collaborative properties’; a previous!y published poem, for example, may arrive complete-in-itself.) The text is appropriated and bifurcated so that its relationship to the images (supported by a soundtrack that is itself an appropriation) presents to the viewer a metaphor extended and redrawn through key ‘moments’ in the unfolding of the work. The words of the spoken text are translated to Spanish before they are “enacted”, emphasizing their adaptation and service to the real world.

Due to the difficulty of copying and pasting from the online document, I’ll leave my quoting at that, but do click through and read the rest — an illuminating analysis which, unlike a lot of theorizing, should also be of practical value to any poets or filmmakers working in the field. For credits and Dier’s found-poem text translated from Blade Runner, see the description on Vimeo.

Un representación de ella (A representation of her) by Alberto Masa

Poet: | Nationality: | Filmmaker:

This is Ella, a film by Javier Reta with cinematography by Iñaki Vargas, art by Yasmina Tous, and sound and music by Bernardo Fernández Pedreira. There’s also a version without English subtitles.

Spanish poet Alberto Masa blogs at Erosionados. The poem appears in his collection. Roberto Alcázar, supongo from Eolas Ediciones.