Nationality: U.K.

West of Dalabrog by Susannah Ramsay

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Poet and director Susannah Ramsay‘s description reads:

West of Dalabrog refers to the relationship between place, landscape, memory and subjective experience. It focuses on the return to a place of personal importance – a long stretch of white sand to the west of the town of Dalabrog, South Uist, which I first visited in 2001. The return represents a shift in perception and reflects how time can bear great change on a place, landscape and more crucially memory.

Restriction Site Poetics by Jason Brennan

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A wonderful, too-short animation by Australian artist and former research scientist Nicholas Kallincos. He says on Vimeo that it’s an “Experimental mixed media animation made in collaboration with UK spoke word poet, Jason Brennan in 2005. Soundtrack by Cornel Wilczek”.

It could be my Google-fu just isn’t very good today, but I’m not able to find anything about Brennan online aside from this.

Liverpool Disappears for a Billionth of a Second by Paul Farley

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A black-and-white poetry film from 2011 which somehow escaped my attention until now. Paul Farley recites his poem in the soundtrack. The film was edited by Sam Meech, one of four people who share the credit for making the film. The others are Tim Brunsden, Steve Clarkson and Markus Soukup.

This was actually the second film to be made with this poem. The first came out in 2009, a performance-style video imaginatively shot by Paul Beasely.

(Hat-tip: ZEBRA Poetry Film Club.)

Colour Poems by Margaret Tait

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A classic poetry film by the Scottish filmmaker and poet Margaret Tait (1918-1999). It’s one of “Five Filmpoems: Curated by Susannah Ramsay” in the first issue of an online journal dedicated to “exploring and showcasing the milieux, methods and madnesses of contemporary poetry in all its emergent myriad forms,” All These New Relations. Ramsay has this to say about Colour Poems:

Margaret Tait was known as a filmpoet and experimental filmmaker. Her approach to filmmaking was remarkably similar to the ethos of the avant-garde, generally self-funded, non-conformist, uncompromising, non-commercial, with distribution and exhibition being select. I think Colour Poems (1974) depicts some of the more thought provoking images within her oeuvre. There is a wonderful poetical moment, which begins with the poppy fields where Tait questions the true essence of the image through juxtaposing shots of the Scottish oil industry and related capitalist iconography and a sequence of images relating to a return to the earth. Nature is brought into being through spoken word. The narrator willing the viewer to look beyond what can be seen, to ‘look into all that is illuminated by the light’ […] ‘the own person’s own self perceiving the light and making the music’ suggesting that we are the beholders of (our) true vision.

Dark Place by Lucy English

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As her ambitious Book of Hours has unfolded, it’s been fascinating to watch Lucy English‘s poetry evolve and adapt to the online video medium and to the exigencies of particular film-making styles. Here’s how Stevie Ronnie, her collaborator for this film (along with composer Jim Ronnie), describes their process at Vimeo:

Lucy and I wanted to try something different as a way of kick starting the collaborative process for Dark Place. It started from a desire to work on something that was going to become part of Lucy’s Book of Hours poetry film project. Poetry films often begin with the words or footage or sound but we decided to start from a colour palette. I created a palette and sent it to Lucy and she wrote the poem from the colours. Lucy then sent me a couple of drafts of the poem and, after spending some time digesting Lucy’s words, I decided to respond to it visually. Using the colours that I found in Lucy’s poem I rendered the poem as a painting, where each mark on the canvas represents a letter in the poem. I then captured this process as a series of still images which have been strung together into the film. The soundtrack, performed by my father Jim Ronnie, was composed and added during the video editing phase as a response to the poem’s images and the words.

Dislocation by Susannah Ramsay

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This filmpoem by Susannah Ramsay is featured in the latest issue of Poetry Film Live along with another of her films and a short essay, “Filmpoetry and Phenomenology.” According to her bio there, Ramsey’s

practice-based research, Experiencing the Filmpoem. A Phenomenological Exploration, argues that phenomenology, both as a philosophy and film theory can undergird our understanding of the filmpoem, a unique composition of artists’ moving image. Through the production and exhibition of her own filmpoetry, her work aims to explore how this medium can provide a sensorial embodied experience within either a site-specific gallery space or a traditional screening context. Susannah’s practice concerns the tradition of filming in close proximity to nature and explores how we can emotionally and philosophically connect to the landscape. As part of her RSPB artist residency she is creating an outdoor audiovisual installation, to be screened in the landscape of Loch Lomond nature reserve.

For more, visit Poetry Film Live.

Channel Swimmer by Jane Glennie

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This author-made videopoem by British artist Jane Glennie was recently featured at Atticus Review. It’s kind of high-concept, but I think it works. Here’s the description from AR and Vimeo:

Channel Swimmer is a short ‘flicker’ film that examines repetitive and ambivalent relationships in matriarchal cycles through the generations from mother to daughter to mother. The film is inspired by two novels – ‘A Proper Marriage’ by Doris Lessing and ‘National Velvet’ by Enid Bagnold, and their main characters. Martha Quest in ‘A Proper Marriage’ is having her own child and questions the relationship between herself and her mother. While Velvet Brown is quietly encouraged by her mother (who is the ‘Channel Swimmer’ of the title – as those who swim the English Channel to France are known) in ‘National Velvet’, the climax of which is when the protagonist wins the famous Grand National steeplechase. The words in the soundtrack are collaged from these two books. The film is made from hundreds of original photographs taken on location on a racecourse and in the studio.

Atticus Review, incidentally, unveiled a spiffy new site design a month or two back, and the editors are always looking for good mixed media submissions. Be sure to bookmark and check the site regularly.

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