Nationality: United States

Family Therapy (IV) by Cynthia Atkins

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Nic Sebastian isn’t content to manage The Poetry Storehouse and record audio tracks for many other people’s video projects; she continues to make poetry videos herself with a surer and surer hand. This video, one of her most recent, is among her best so far, I think. The text is one of six poems by Cynthia Atkins that appeared at the Storehouse earlier this month. The soundtrack, which strikes me as a particularly good match for the words and footage, comes from freesound.org user Peridactyloptrix.

A wide-ranging and fascinating interview with Nic Sebastian has just been posted at Creative Thresholds. About videopoetry Sebastian says, for example:

[T]he poem on the page is THE character in the page production. In a video production, the page poem remains a central character, but is not THE character in the same way. The page poem threads the poet’s story into the video, but other important elements join to play different roles in telling the story the film-maker found in the poem. Which, in the best video productions, is a related but different story, one that moves the original narrative forward in ways the poet may or may not have envisaged. The best video productions, in my view, are not merely a reflection of the original poem, not merely an attempt to recast/reproduce the poet’s narrative in visual form – they add something to the original narrative, they move it forward.

Do read the rest.


Moving Poems will be on holiday all next week. See you in August.

In Which I Play the Runaway by Rochelle Hurt

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An animation by Christabel Jarrold of a poem by Rochelle Hurt, with voiceover by Caitlin McMillan and sound by Tom Varrall.

The Final Neural Firings of the Eternal Starlet by Matt Mullins

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An internet-enabled collaboration between Matt Mullins (poem and video-audio composition) and Marc Neys, A.K.A. Swoon (editing, original footage and music). The voiceover is by Raquel Falcon.

Stupid Sandwich by Nathan Anderson

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A poem by Nathan Anderson from Best American Poetry 2013, adapted for Motionpoems by Carolyn Figel of MPC with additional animation by Andrew Montague, voiceover by Daniel Silverman, and sound design by Michael Scott.

The Best American Poetry blog has a brief post quoting Anderson about the poem:

This poem started when a few lines (a shadowy echo of what would become the speaker’s voice) surfaced while I was working on another project. As the speaker’s voice developed and the context began to take shape, I became interested in how this particular speaker responds and, more broadly, how all of us respond, when the daily pressures of a life become seemingly unmanageable.

Visit the video’s page on Motionpoems for the text of the poem.

I see from her website that Carolyn Figel has “An ongoing personal project of illustrating delicious sandwiches I find online.” No wonder this poem caught her eye, then.

When Asked About My Inner Goddess by Janeen Rastall

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Two different video remixes of footage from the Prelinger Archives using a text by Janeen Rastall sourced from The Poetry Storehouse. While neither is a perfect video (both end too soon and too abruptly for my taste, for example), I think each is interesting, and together they show how approaches can diverge even when using largely the same material and techniques. Both are black and white with a 4:3 aspect ratio, last for 51 or 52 seconds with a cut every 6-10 seconds, and intersperse moments of allusiveness or departure from the text with moments of more literal illustration. But while Othniel Smith seized upon the goddess imagery in the title and first line, Marie Craven took the bursting seeds of the second line as her point of departure. They also differ in their soundtracks, Smith opting to use the poet’s own reading without accompaniment and Craven mixing Nic Sebastian’s reading with music by SK123.

Buck Moon by Erica Goss

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This is Part VII in the 12 Moons collaborative videopoem series presented by Atticus Review — and it may be my favorite to date. As usual, the line-up is Erica Goss (text), Nic Sebastian (voice), Kathy McTavish (music), and Swoon, A.K.A. Marc Neys (concept and direction). Neys calls the text

A lovely short poem that I wanted to give an extra playful and nostalgic layer by adding a bit of ‘family history’.
I went back to the outstanding collection of IICADOM (‘International Institute for the Conservation, Archiving and Distribution of Other People’s Memories’) to look for the right footage.

Kathy provided me with an impressive soundtrack with enough length to work with two distinctive parts in the visual storyline.
Part one; a bright and colourful look into the carefree world of children. Part two; a short view on the expectations, doubts, happiness and moments of fear that might precede that carefree world.

Read the rest of his process notes.

Second Firing by Keary Rosen

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This entertaining piece by Keary Rosen (text and voice) and Kelly Oliver (filming and editing) is featured in TriQuarterly, one of three videos that kick off the latest issue. The magazine’s mishandling of submissions recently sparked a kerfuffle in the American writing community, suggesting that they may be having growing pains, and they remain out-of-step with web publishing norms in preventing their own videos from being shared on blogs and social media sites (or even viewed on Vimeo) — strong evidence that they have yet to fully transition from the scarcity mentality of print publishing to the abundance mentality of the web. But I continue to be encouraged by their foregrounding of multimedia work, and I wish more web journals would follow their lead in that respect.

UPDATE (24 July 2014): I’m pleased to report that all TriQuarterly films are now embeddable.

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