Nationality: United States

The Imagined by Stephen Dunn

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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

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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 S.. 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

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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)

Monster Movie by Matt Mullins

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A new author-made videopoem from Matt Mullins. Poet as Godzilla (rather than poet as god, à la Vicente Huidobro) is definitely a concept I can get behind. For the first couple of minutes, I was puzzled by all the different screen arrangements, but it eventually made sense… in fact, using videopoetry to critique movie making and movie watching is something that should happen more often, I think.

To / For by Luisa A. Igloria

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A text-on-screen-style videopoem by Swoon (Marc Neys) with a text from Night Willow, a 2014 collection of prose poems by Luisa A. Igloria. Back in September, Marc blogged some process notes about the video, calling it “The latest experiment in my series of videos where I re-think the relationship of image, sound, and text”.

Combining lines from the poem with the suitable footage, trying out different fonts and sizes for the text on screen, placement of words… It’s a puzzling way of editing.
I’m not only editing film anymore, I’m carefully trying to blend sound, image and text in one cut. It feels more like composing. It makes me rethink the way I worked (and still work) with audible videopoems.

These ‘film Compositions’ are meant to be played full screen and loud!

Marc talked about this style of editing in a brief interview I filmed for Moving Poems, Swoon on finding a new angle in videopoetry composition.

And God… by Eric Blanchard

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Australian filmmaker Marie Craven demonstrates one way to get away with out-right illustration in a videopoem. Had she used footage of pinball games in a poem that references pinball, it would’ve seemed merely redundant, I think. But instead she hit upon the idea of using colorful still images (by Donald Bell) alternating with dark, silent-film-like title cards bearing the lines of the poem. Cut these images in time with up-tempo, pinball-esque music by CIRC, and rather than simply depicting a game of pinball, the video actually enacts or reproduces the effect of a highly kinetic ball careening around in an inert cabinet. “The whole thing / goes tilt.” And the poem is raised to a new level, I think.

The text by Eric Blanchard, first published in Pudding Magazine, was sourced from The Poetry Storehouse.

Mule & Pear: two videopoems by Rachel Eliza Griffiths

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Rachel Eliza Griffiths has made poetry book trailer-style videopoems for a couple of other poets, but this one from 2011 was for her own collection, and Roxane Gay, writing at HTML Giant, was impressed:

Mule & Pear is a new book of poetry by Rachel Eliza Griffiths and has a book trailer I really love which is saying something because I do not care for book trailers.

This Dust Road: Self Portrait is an excerpt from the final poem in Mule & Pear. According to the publisher’s description,

These poems speak to us with voices borrowed from the pages of novels of Alice Walker, Jean Toomer, and Toni Morrison—voices that still have more to say, things to discuss. Each struggles beneath a yoke of dreaming, loving, and suffering. These characters converse not just with the reader but also with each other, talking amongst themselves, offering up their secrets and hard-won words of wisdom, an everlasting conversation through which these poems voice a shared human experience.