We buy longing, our faces
aggressive and breakable
on the cusp of winter.
The perfect poetry film for the holiday season. This is the final part of the 12 Moons series, the year-long videopoetry collaboration between Marc Neys A.K.A. Swoon (concept, camera and direction), Erica Goss (poetry), Kathy McTavish (music), and Nic Sebastian (voice), presented by Atticus Review. Marc wrote:
As with the other 11, Kathy provided me with a great soundtrack. Moody and floating on ‘loneliness’. Perfect for Nic’s reading and the poem itself.
Reading and hearing the poem gave me the idea of using images of people shopping for the holidays. I filmed these for another project (Day is done), but this was a perfect match.
It’s like Erica said after viewing the video: “In “Cold Moon,” the young woman’s expression captures the essence of the poem: that holiday shopping is a poor excuse for spirituality, and that faith is still an unexplained phenomenon.”
So this was the last of the series. All of these were made over more than a year ago, but I still have great memories working on these. My gratitude also goes out to Atticus Review and Moving Poems for giving those videos an extra home.
Showing these 12 at Zebra Festival in Berlin this year was a highlight, but collaborating with those three was the best reward.
I’ve gotten a couple of months behind on the 12 Moons videopoetry collaboration between Erica Goss (words), Marc Neys/Swoon (concept and directing), Kathy McTavish (music) and Nic Sebastian (voice), so here are parts X, “Hunter’s Moon” (above) and XI, “Trapper’s Moon” (below). About the former, Marc writes:
The wind in this poem led me to a film I used earlier; ‘Terror in the midnight sun’ (Virgil W. Vogel)
I created a ‘windy’ scape using blocks of sound Kathy provided me with, added Nic’s reading and started playing around with the footage. (Different grading, colours,…)
In the end I only used one sequence. Played with repetition… I added a light layer of flickering windows to emphasize the wind even more.
For “Trapper’s Moon,” Marc notes that
Kathy provided me with a beautiful soundtrack, full of nostalgia and melancholy. A perfect fit for Nic’s intense reading.
I wanted very simple and pure images to go with this music. Preferably nature. A forest. Solitude.
Ephemeral Rift filmed one of his winter walks, I edited out a few bits and played around with colouring and timing in a split screen.
Ironically, one of the reasons I got behind on sharing them was because I took almost two weeks off to go to the ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival in October… where one of the big draws was seeing all twelve films in order on the big screen, with both Marc and Erica in attendance to introduce them and answer questions afterwards. It was an utterly captivating experience; the films flowed really well one into another, which might not be obvious if you watch them individually on the web. I hope that won’t be the last time that the whole project gets shown in a theater.
This is not the first time that Nic Sebastian—known for her great reading voice—has made a videopoem with text-on-screen rather than voiceover, but it may be her most satisfying example of that sort of videopoem to date. The text, by New Orleans-based poet Charlotte Hamrick, comes from The Poetry Storehouse, and the soundtrack is by Matt Samolis.
Amid racial tensions in communities such as Ferguson, Missouri, and following the unwarranted deaths of young black men like Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin, two slam poets confront what it means to be black men in America and in their communities. Theo Wilson, once a victim of police brutality, delves into his internal struggle of dealing with the past encounter, remembering how powerless he felt in the face of his oppressor, and his ensuing resolve to change the rules of the game. Beneath the smoldering anger and aftermath of police violence is a growing disquietude toward the future of race relations. Jovan Mays, the poet laureate of Aurora, Colorado, uses his spoken word to express the turmoil of emotions and experiences inherently attached to growing up a black boy in America.
These two related poetry films are by Mary I. Stevens, an associate producer of digital video at CNBC. They deserve to be seen widely in the wake of yet another grotesque miscarriage of justice in the racist police state that the United States has become. Those of us who have the luxury of merely wallowing in outrage and not fearing for our lives (yet), simply because we happen to have been born with white skin, need to hear the testimony of the victims of police violence and humiliation, and ask ourselves whether our anxious calls for peaceful protest aren’t motivated more out of a desire to sweep unpleasant realities under the rug rather than to actually confront the glaring inequities in our society.
Jovan Mays and Theo E. J. Wilson, A.K.A. Lucifury, are members of the Slam Nuba team, who won the National Poetry Slam in 2011. The first film, an artful blend of interview and poetry, contains a few excerpts from the performance of “Burning House” featured in the second film, but devotes much more space to a poem recited by Mays, “To the Black Boys.” The song “Look Down Lord,” included in both films, is performed by Dee Galloway.
To mark the passing of legendary Washington, D.C. mayor Marion Shepilov Barry, Jr.—a unique figure in the American political landscape, to say the least—here’s a terrific performance poem by Kenneth Carroll, mixed with the drumming of a street musician named Vinzee. It’s from the “eclectic documentary series” The Angle Show from Park Triangle Productions and director Gemal Woods. (They do quite a bit of poetry, which is really refreshing for a documentary series.) The video was posted back in December 2011, and the accompanying text notes:
We wanted to have fun especially with this great piece by Kenneth Carroll. I think we did. He is a genius.
Vinzee…just met him traveling. He was gracious to share with us.
Kenneth Carroll doesn’t appear to have a website, but here’s his page at the Poetry Foundation.
(Hat-tip: Sandra Beasley on Facebook)