Nationality: U.K.

“I am” machine-poem by Brion Gysin

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I couldn’t resist following Steven Nichol Smith’s “I Am” with this audio experiment from 1960 by Brion Gysin:

Permutation is a technique commonly used by avant-gardes and above all, and systematically, by the American writer Gertrude Stein. It is possible to permute sentences, words within a sentence, syllables and phonemes within a word. Permutation is a typically modern device and considerable use was made of it in the plastic arts by the constructivists. In fact it permits the complete exhaustion of all the possible combinations within a given choice of material, without limit of number. The Englishman Brion Gysin, one of the founders of the beatnik movement and inventor of such new formulas as the collage-novel, has composed his phonic texts on this principle. “I am” is a classic of the genre. Composed exclusively of permutations of the biblical words “I am that I am”, with ever more marked accelerations, he succeeds in rendering, from the initial nucleus, a crowd of “I am”s, the creation of the world in geometrical progression until it fades away in the sidereal silence.

The video by Alex Itin is titled “hotdog,” and is one of the very first videopoems posted to Vimeo four years ago. The god/dog pun is an old one, but the twitching of the animal in its sleep is a great way way to suggest dreaming and delusion while remaining entirely objective. And you certainly wouldn’t want anything less minimalist for a poem like this.

La Plage by Jane McKie

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Another film by Alastair Cook for the This Collection project of 100 videopoems about Edinburgh. I found the soundtrack particularly effective.

The School Boy by William Blake

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A short entitled “Schoolboy” by Charlotte Herriman, who says,

Experimental film scratching/drawing piece for my Frame by Frame animation class. I started out with a found strip of film and manipulated it with a knife and permanent markers. I sent the film through a Steinbeck film projector and recorded it with a digital camera.

The piece is about a William Blake poem called ‘School Boy’ where he questions the need for schools. Blake implies that the ways in which children are taught routinely in schools is not the best way for them to flourish. At the time, I was terribly frustrated with school myself! ;)

Here’s the complete poem:

I love to rise in a summer morn,
When the birds sing on every tree;
The distant huntsman winds his horn,
And the sky-lark sings with me.
O! what sweet company.

But to go to school in a summer morn,
O! it drives all joy away;
Under a cruel eye outworn.
The little ones spend the day,
In sighing and dismay.

Ah! then at times I drooping sit,
And spend many an anxious hour,
Nor in my book can I take delight,
Nor sit in learnings bower,
Worn thro’ with the dreary shower.

How can the bird that is born for joy,
Sit in a cage and sing.
How can a child when fears annoy.
But droop his tender wing.
And forget his youthful spring.

O! father & mother. if buds are nip’d,
And blossoms blown away,
And if the tender plants are strip’d
Of their joy in the springing day,
By sorrow and care’s dismay.

How shall the summer arise in joy.
Or the summer fruits appear.
Or how shall we gather what griefs destroy
Or bless the mellowing year.
When the blasts of winter appear.

A Dialogue Between the Soul and the Body by Andrew Marvell

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A delightful experiment in machine translation by Michelle Phillips.

A conversation between two computers. One read a verse aloud and the other transcribed it through voice recognition and vice versa. The process was repeated until Andrew Marvell’s poem “A Dialogue between the Soul and Body” had been completely re-written.

I am thinking we could dub the result a meta-metaphysical poem.

The Hanging Stanes by Sam Meekings

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Ginnetta Correli directs. The poem is #65 in This Collection’s Top 100 poems about Edinburgh, and is read by Alastair Cook.

Scene by Morgan Downie

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Strangely enough, considering the flourishing poetry scene in Scotland, this is the first Scottish videopoem I’ve posted here. It’s evidently the first of three films Alastair Cook will be making for something called this collection, which promises to deliver many more Scottish videopoems:

this collection is a collaboration between Edinburgh writers and filmmakers inspired by these poems, which aims to create a detailed picture of day-to-day life in the city, with all its foibles and issues, through the media of poetry and film.

Basically, we have gathered 100 poems by Edinburgh writers, each poem no more than 100 words long. We’re now looking to invite filmmakers, sound designers, animators who will like to get to work on creating short films based on poems of their choosing. We then intend to showcase the poems and the films together, both online and at events across the city throughout 2010-2011.

The full list of poems is included on the blog. “Scene” is one of two poems on the list by Morgan Downie.

Waitress in Waiting by Julia Effertz

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A nicely conceived film with the poet as actor, by the UK-based team of poets and filmmakers behind Viral Verse (which fans of this site should also follow).