Erica Goss should be familiar to regular readers of Moving Poems for her monthly column about videopoetry, The Third Form, but she is also a very good poet in her own right, as this new collaboration with Swoon (Marc Neys) demonstrates. This was actually a tri-national collaboration, because the cinematography was by Alastair Cook, re-edited by Marc. For the text of the poem, as well as some process notes, see Marc’s blog.
This mash-up by Othniel Smith is so wrong, it’s right: images from Red Detachment of Women accompany a Librivox reading of a classic poem from the Harlem Rennaissance poet Georgia Douglas Johnson. I hope her heirs have a sense of humor.
A very popular poem — there are three videos for it on Vimeo alone — probably because it captures in simple language an experience most of us have felt, and also because there’s a great recording of Tom Waits reading it (which is the narration used here). It also has that wistful, “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” kind of vibe, even though the holidays aren’t mentioned. And for me this poetry film epitomizes the appeal of down-home, local diners. (I worked as a short-order cook in a diner for a few years when I was young.)
The director, Patrick Biesemans, says about himself:
I currently work as head of production for a cool little company in Manhattan, and when the opportunity arises I am a freelance director of commercials, fashion films, and music videos.
The film was supported by a successful Kickstarter campaign and shot on a $4000 budget. The campaign description shows Biesemans’ thinking about the project:
We would love the opportunity to pay tribute to Waits and Bukowski by creating a short film inspired by, and complimentary to, this great poem. This video project would be visual poetry, focusing on the atmospheric qualities that Waits’ presents with his voice, and Bukowski with his words. A story revolving around the quiet moments that spark and inspire great writing. [...]
Our approach would be to shoot this live action and on location, with a playful mix of practical effects and miniature elements (mainly using model railroad train elements); A surreal yet welcoming artistic representation of the world. I want the influences of the 1950′s and 60′s to shape the art direction, costuming, and mood of this project.
We have no plans to submit this to film festivals or get praise for completing such a great project. We’re doing this as a “love letter” to travelers, writers, singers, campfire storytellers, and poets.
Directed by Egyptian film student and photographer Forat Sami, with acting and narration by Yousef Bakir and sound production by Mohamed Elshazly. For background on the Lebanese-American poet Elia Abu Madi, the Wikipedia has a bare-bones bio.
His poems are very well known among Arabs; journalist Gregory Orfalea wrote that “his poetry is as commonplace and memorized in the Arab world as that of Robert Frost is in ours.”