Nationality: U.K.

The Fauvist In Spring by Daniel Cockrill

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Poetry by the UK performance poet Daniel Cockrill animated by Richard Jackson (Plume Animation) with music by Julian Ward. Jackson does a marvelous job of expanding and extending the images in the texts, connecting what appear to be two separate poems, and concluding with a purely visual epilogue after the credits. Uploaded to Vimeo six years ago, it came to my attention just the other week when it was shared on YouTube by Muddy Feet Poetry.

This is one of at least four animations that Cockrill and Jackson have collaborated on. I see too that both of Cockrill’s books with Burning Eye have been produced collaboratively with visual artists: Sellotaping Rain to My Cheek with the cartoonist Tony Husband, and In The Beginning Was The Word, Then A Drawing, Then More Words, Another Drawing, And So On, And So On with illustrator Damien Weighill. Very cool.

Bird by Haide Rollo

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A videopoem of the purest sort, meaning that poem and video are one and the same, by filmmaker Helmie Stil with Haide Rollo assisted by Denise Saul. The project from which it and two others emerged sounds fascinating:

Silent Room: A Journey of Language is a collaborative video poem project funded by Arts Council England. Denise Saul, project founder and poet, and Helmie Stil, filmmaker, work with individuals who have the speech disability, aphasia, to produce a series of video poems. This second video poem is Haide Rollo’s Bird.

That’s the Vimeo description. Here’s the Silent Room website. About this film, it says:

Haide Rollo is a workshop participant and emerging poet. … Haide used prompts, writing and hand gesture to create a poem about silent places.

shhh! by Leah Thorn

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A dance-infused poetry film by Leah Thorn and filmmaker Clare Unsworth about the systematic silencing of women — and the need to rebel against it. Leah told me in an email,

The poem was written out of a passion to challenge the invisibility of the many ways women are silenced and I tried it out in performance with many different audiences of women – in schools, universities, feminist groups, at poetry events and in prison. Clare and I then collaborated with three drama students at the University of Kent, Canterbury, England who interpreted the poem through movement.

This locally-produced, no-budget film has been screened internationally at feminist film festivals.

The dancer/choreographers are Kristin Bacheva, Vanessa Owusu and Elle Payne. The sound is by Daniel Battersby, with music by Jahzzar and Ars Sonor.

I Am A Woman by Jade Anouka

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Inspired by Maya Angelou’s “Phenomenal Woman,” actress and poet Jade Anouka enlisted the help of a huge cast to recite her text for the camera, resulting in a uniquely polyphonic presentation. See YouTube for the text and complete list of contributors. The music is by Grace Savage.

Quiet Sounds by Lucy English

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The second collaboration between Marie Craven and Lucy English for The Book of Hours. Marie recently blogged some process notes:

‘Quiet Sounds’ is my second video collaboration with the marvelous UK poet and performer, Lucy English. Both have been made as part of her great, multi-artist project, ‘The Book of Hours‘. The earlier video, ‘The Last Days‘, started with images. This one started with the poem and sound. The soundscape is comprised entirely of Lucy’s voice and small noises in the environment. I wanted the ‘bed’ of the soundscape to be quietly musical and constructed it from a collection of sounds recorded by various artists, and found on Creative Commons licences at Freesound. The central element is the metronomic sound of a clock ticking. I edited Lucy’s voice in loose rhythm with the clock, elongating the pace of her reading and leaving spaces for the various other sounds to have their ‘solo’ moments: a pheasant and a wood pigeon, a sheep, a cow, an old fridge, air traffic. I carefully built up the soundtrack piece by piece until I had a complete first draft. Then I looked for images that might add further to the audiovisual experience of the poem. The poem describes a moment of solitude, a hush when a woman becomes aware of the little sounds in her environment. It is implied she is inside a domestic space at the time. In my net wanderings, I found a marvelous series of interior shots by Carol Blyberg (aka Smilla4 on Flickr), also available on a Creative Commons licence. I worked with the images using zooms and slow dissolves that changed in rhythm with Lucy’s voice. For such an apparently simple piece, it was time-intensive to make, especially in the refining process that saw both sound and image go through many drafts. I gave a lot of attention to subtle details, in a meditative way. Maureen Doallas has since featured ‘Quiet Sounds’ on her wonderful blog, Writing Without Paper.

See Vimeo for the text of the poem, as well as links to all the soundtrack sources.

Washing Day by Cactus “Cathy” Chilly

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A haunting, incantatory videopoem from U.K. poet-filmmaker Cactus “Cathy” Chilly that raises disturbing questions about what we accept as normal and ordinary.

Vaccine by Christy Ducker

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I can’t say enough good things about this animated film by the ever-inventive Kate Sweeney. It works equally well as a poetry film or as a lyrical promo for vaccination; the transition from prose narration (by Dr. Mohamed Osman) to poetry half-way through is natural and powerful, and the poem by Christy Ducker is extraordinarily good. Here’s the description:

An animated film highlighting the research and fieldwork into finding a cure for Leishmaniasis, a chronic disease affecting millions of people in areas such as Sudan and Syria. The film was made as part of a collaboration between poet Christy Ducker and artist Kate Sweeney and scientists working at York University at The Centre for Chronic Disease.

Working in collaboration allows access to an other’s research, in this case, the work of scientists who are actively working to find a cure, and to study the causes and exacerbations of the Leishmaniasis disease. Dr Mohamed Osman sent me photographs he had taken when in Sudan of the people he was working with, trialing a vaccine for the disease. I was able to interview him, talk to him about my interests in stories and how we tell stories to frame experiences and use his response and his photographs in the initial part of the film. The second part of the film is an animated response to Christy’s poem that explores metaphorical links between medical vaccinations and the grieving process. Where the loose style of the first part of the film reflects the nature of conversation, the more structured animation in the second part reflects poetry’s structured, considered language.