American poet Max Ritvo‘s death of cancer at 25 was widely mourned on social media last week. As the New York Times noted, much of his work was devoted to chronicling his struggle with Ewing’s sarcoma, which he contracted at 16. The above video is one of a pair of animations by Nate Milton produced to accompany an NPR podcast, as the YouTube description explains:
Ritvo visited the Only Human podcast for the second time during what he called his “farewell tour”. His debut collection, “Four Reincarnations” will be published later this year. Listen to the episode here: http://www.wnyc.org/story/max-ritvo/
See also the other animation, “Poem to My Litter.”
Sarah Jensen directed this adaptation of a poem by Los Angeles-based poet Brendan Constantine (which I found via his website, following a link below his excellent new poem in Rattle, “Red Sugar Blue Smoke“). Here’s the description on Vimeo:
A Hello, Margeaux Production
Written and Read by Brendan Constantine
Write Bloody Publishing
Music by Carina Pearson
Featuring Laura Whitfield and Philip Hood
Concept and Direction by Sarah Jensen
Video and Edit by Amy Hobbs
A narrative-style poetry film directed by Elizabeth Masucci and starring Danielle Brooks from Orange Is the New Black. Alfredo Alcántara is the cinematographer, Eric Spang edited, and Andrew Freedman wrote the score. It’s the first of a projected five-film series of poetry shorts celebrating women than Masucci plans to direct. A crowd-funding campaign has raised nearly $15,000 to support the project so far. Masucci writes:
I’ve always been a sucker for a good poem. Call me nerdy or sentimental, but it’s the truth. I love beautiful language. Unfortunately, poetry isn’t considered “cool” or “popular” like it used to be. We can change that. Bill Murray said “poetry is the voice of the soul.” A good poem gets to the truth of humanity more than any other art form. This is why I’d like to use poetry in these short films instead of standard dialogue.
Women in the entertainment business have to take a back seat most of the time. And as an actress, I find that there aren’t as many interesting and dynamic roles for women as there are for men. There aren’t enough compelling and truthful female voices in entertainment. These are my reasons for making these poetry short films about the female experience through the voices of female poets.
Click through to read more about the series.
Generally, I think my work is interested in how history bears down on the individual and on communities, how it affects people’s lives in large ways, as in social policy, but also in kind of the small things that trickle down, like how much glass is on your kid’s playground.
For Fourth of July weekend, here’s a portrait of Detroit-based poet Lillien Waller combining interview excerpts with historic footage and Waller’s recitation of her poem. It was directed by Oren Goldenberg (Cass Corridor Films) for Kresge Arts in Detroit, where Waller was a Literary Arts Fellow in 2015. The soundtrack incorporates music by Sterling Toles.
Starfish Aorta Colossus
poem by Paolo Javier
film Lynne Sachs and Sean Hanley
4 1/2 min., 2015
Poetry watches film. Film reads poetry. Paolo Javier’s text is a catalyst for the digital sculpting of an 8mm Kodachrome canvas. Syntactical ruptures and the celebration of nouns illuminate twenty-five years of rediscovered film journeys.
NYC poet Paolo Javier invited filmmaker Lynne Sachs to create a film that would speak to one of his poems from his newly published book Court of the Dragon (Nightboat Books). Sachs chose Stanza 10 from Javier’s poem “Starfish Aorta Colossus”. She then decided to collaborate with film artist Sean Hanley in the editing of the film. Together, they traveled through 25 years of unsplit Regular 8 mm film that Sachs had shot — including footage of the A.I.D.S. Quilt from the late 1980s, a drive from Florida to San Francisco, and a journey into a very untouristic part of Puerto Rico. Throughout the process, Sachs and Hanley explore the celebration of nouns and the haunting resonances of Javier’s poetry.
Regular 8 mm film shot by Lynne Sachs
Edit by Sean Hanley with Lynne Sachs