Nationality: United States

Indefinite Animals by Martha McCollough

Poet: | Nationality: | Filmmaker:

Massachusetts-based artist Martha McCollough shows why she’s at or near the top of many people’s lists of the most innovative videopoets out there today. Until now she’s worked mainly with animation and collage techniques, but for this film she directed a troupe of seven actors wearing masks and enlisted the help of three videographers (Katie Valovcin, Cameron Morton and Joe Nervous) and two “animal wranglers.”

Indefinite Animals is featured in Issue 147 – Winter/Spring 2015 of TriQuarterly, McCollough’s fourth videopoem to appear in that most prestigious of all journals that currently publish poetry films. Go there to watch the other three. Her bio there reads:

Martha McCollough is a member of Atlantic Works, a coop gallery in Boston. Her work has been exhibited at festivals and conferences in Greece, Canada, the U.K. and the United States, and published in Rattapallax, Gone Lawn and Small Po[r]tions. She lives in Chelsea, Massachusetts.

I Too Come From by Luisa A. Igloria

Poet: | Nationality: , | Filmmaker:

This new poetry film by the always interesting Lori H. Ersolmaz is an adaptation of a poem from The Poetry Storehouse by Luisa A. Igloria, and includes the author’s own reading in the soundtrack. Ersolmaz incorporated archival footage from the newly available Pond5 Public Domain Project and sound effects from Freesound.org.

Read Lori’s process notes, “Beginning with the End in Mind,” at Moving Poems Magazine.

Diagnostic by Laura M Kaminski

Poet: | Nationality: | Filmmaker:

A collage videopoem by Dale Wisely using a text by Laura M Kaminski from The Poetry Storehouse. The voices in the soundtrack are Nic Sebastian’s and Eric Burke’s. The poem originally appeared in One Sentence Poems, which Wisely co-edits with Robert Scotellaro.

Song for Awe & Dread by Tommy Becker

Poet: | Nationality: | Filmmaker:

Tommy Becker is “A poet trapped in a camcorder [who] continues to feed video, music and poems into his never-ending saga, ‘TAPE NUMBER ONE’. Often Becker’s single channel works are translated to live performance.” Discovering new-to-me videopoets of such originality is what makes all the work of publishing Moving Poems worthwhile. Here’s the Vimeo description:

Song for Awe & Dread is a contemporary take on the vanitas paintings of the 17th century and an investigation into the emotional duality of our existence. It is AWEsome to be human and to be alive, but the evolution of human intelligence has also burdened our species with a self-awareness of life’s impermanence. The Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard called these two uniquely human emotions, awe and dread. Through its symbolic meditation on mortality, this work attempts to find meaning between the fleeting flavors of bubblegum and cultural programming that entrenches us in our denial of death.

Music & Text & Video: written, recorded, performed and edited by Tommy Becker ©2015
instructional poetry read by – Don Johnson
skeleton characters performed by – Billy Mark
backing vocals – Rosie Harald
public domain footage – collected from the Prelinger Archives.

A huge THANK YOU!!! to all my students for their enthusiastic participation.
soundcloud.com/tapenumberone/song-for-awe-dread

The Imagined by Stephen Dunn

Poet: | Nationality: | Filmmaker:

A terrific animated film by Matt Craig for Motionpoems, influenced by “a lot of really early animation films,” as he told interviewer Michael Dechane.

I knew I wanted to stay away from illustrating the words or being too literal with the imagery. I wanted to create something that would be its own thing but would be a perfect companion to the poem. I spent a lot of time making these decisions before I got into the work, and I’m glad I did it that way. I was able to steer my own direction because of the rules I had laid out for myself early on.

MOPO: What are some of the stylistic influences you saw coming to bear on the film?

CRAIG: I had been watching a lot of really early animation films, one in particular called “The Idea” by Berthold Bartosch. It was based on a woodcut graphic novel by Frans Masereel. I had been watching that kind of work coming into this project. When I start a project I tend to pull a lot of artwork, paintings and things that I can respond to in some way. That helps me get towards ideas I like.

Do read the whole interview; Craig makes a lot of interesting points. And there’s an interview with Stephen Dunn on the same page which is also worth checking out. The last question concerns the film:

MOPO: I’m wondering about the whole idea of taking a poem and making a short film out of it, and this sort of hybrid art that Motionpoems is pioneering. Is presenting a work in a different medium akin to the difficulty of linguistic translation in your opinion? What would you share with us about why you consented to be a part of this Motionpoems season and growing body of art — what were you hoping or wanting?

DUNN: I have no expectations. My poem itself is a translation of experience. I would hope that you all would try to be true to the poem’s spirit and tone, but I also know that another medium will interpret in ways I can’t foresee.

Bryan Hanna composed the score.

Crows by Lori Lamothe

Poet: | Nationality: | Filmmaker:

Lori Lamothe is the latest poet to have work added to The Poetry Storehouse, which is where Australian multimedia artist Jutta Pryor found this poem (originally published in Third Coast) and the reading by Nic Sebastian. Pryor is responsible not only for the cinematography and direction but also for the very effective soundtrack.

Deaf Brown Gurl (La Morena Sorda) by Sabina England

Poet: | Nationality: , , | Filmmaker:

This is

a film written, directed, shot, performed, and edited by Sabina England.

-Voice Over & Sound Design by Micropixie.
-Music by Om/Off (Paco Seren and Pablo Alvarez)
-V.O Recording by Elliott Peltzman.

Filmed in India (Old Delhi, India and Patna, Bihar, India)

Though England grew up in the UK, the sign language here is ASL. She notes in her bio (which is so interesting, I almost hate to excerpt it):

I use a combination of American Sign Language, mime, poetry, voice-over, multimedia, and/or music in my stage performances. I am always looking for more opportunities to expand my works, and I love meeting new people from different cultures. I believe that art and culture can bring people together in spite of differences and issues.

I have been profoundly deaf since I was two years old. I am fluent in English, Spanish, and American Sign Language.

Click through and scroll down to the Long Biography to read about some of England’s other films. In a blog post announcing this film’s release, she wrote:

After one year in the making, it’s here for public viewing. ENGLISH & SPANISH subtitles are available for your watching. My film shows the diversity of Indian society (in Patna) and I wanted to show a variety of Indian groups (Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists), including Deaf Indians (and myself as a Deaf Indian).


(Hat-tip: Thomas Zandegiacomo Del Bel at the ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival group page on Facebook)