Nationality: United States

This Long Winter by Kristin LaTour

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Another simple-but-effective Nic Sebastian video remix of a poem from The Poetry Storehouse, this time by Kristin LaTour. Nic posted some process notes at her blog. Especially interesting are her comments on blending multiple voices, and how she collaborated with the other reader, Jonathon Lu, for the voiceover heard here.

Like poem-making, videopoetry-making is a binding/weaving process, a deliberate or serendipitous blending of disparate things (words, images, sound) that were not linked before. Since voice is for me a hugely prominent element of the process, I continue to look for ways to create voice duets, voice dialogues, voice mosaics.

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Migrations by Dave Richardson

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A gem of a videopoem by poet and filmmaker Dave Richardson.

Note that, polished as it appears, this is still a first draft, according to Richardson. In a comment at Vimeo, he wrote:

Always happy to share works in progress. My “first draft” might just be someone’s “final draft.” I think this motion piece is in good shape now.

Lebensweisheitspielerei by Wallace Stevens

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A film by the Greek composer, musician, filmmaker and video artist Makis Faros, who writes in the Vimeo description:

The project is based on a poem of Wallace Stevens titled “LEBENSWEISHEITSPIELEREI”.
The lyrics : “The proud and the strong Have departed” marks a huge portion of the history of the African states calling for their independency at the decades of 60 and after. People who were cut off from their land, used to be dependent on slave labor and within a culture imposed on them, had to stay stool when their invaders departed. These mechanisms can also be found at the contemporary consumer societies of the western world. The video focuses on the endless vicious game of them: those who remain, between desire and the “grandeur of annihilation”

This was uploaded by Vital Space Projects, who have a number of other interesting experimental films on Vimeo.

Sandburg and Photograph by Lennart Lundh

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A simple but effective videopoem. Nic Sebastian used a text from The Poetry Storehouse contributed by Illinois-based writer and photographer Lennart Lundh, but as she notes at her blog, the video imagery came first.

For this one, I started with the footage and then searched for the poem.

One of the challenges for a videopoem maker not yet handy with his or her own camera (that would be me) is finding video footage that a) works and b) is copyright-free and c) is either free or inexpensive. There are a few sites (eg Motion Elements or OrangeHD) that put up video clips for free use, and I trawl them regularly, downloading and saving footage against future need. The clip subjects are super-odd and almost comically random and nearly always fall in the ‘you never know’ category.

In this case, I found a series of shots taken of and through the side rear view mirror of a car. They struck me as metaphorically powerful and I went back through the Storehouse poems, deliberately looking for one which would match the metaphor. Lennart’s elegantly tragic simple/complicated piece, with its telescoping rearward/forward depiction of time and space jumped out at me very quickly.

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Telegram by Amy MacLennan

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For all you lovers, here’s a videopoem by the indefatigable Belgian filmmaker Swoon (Marc Neys).

Since the beginning of The Poetry Storehouse last year, a gentle stream of new arrivals and voices filled up the shelves. It was about time I went shopping for words again.
It’s such a fun place to nose. Different styles, themes, voices and ideas… This time the poem ‘Telegram’ by Amy MacLennan caught my eye. […]

The images came fairly easy. I wanted a very subtle, understated almost, scenery. slow movements, details of bodyparts and a slow veil of colour…
The video practically made itself…it felt right from the start. A good sign.

The poem first appeared online in Linebreak, and in print in MacLennan’s chapbook Weathering (Uttered Chaos Press, 2012).

Nic Sebastian (who provided the reading used in the soundtrack) interviewed Amy MacLennan for our ongoing series of interviews at the Moving Poems Forum with poets and remixers who have provided or worked with material from The Poetry Storehouse. Here’s what MacLennan had to say about “Telegram”:

I never expected to hear that kind of music, see that kind of video, hear that kind of voice merged into something that I had provided words for. The pacing was crazy interesting for me. I saw other things in my own poem that I wouldn’t have thought before because I was too attached to the rhythms of “Telegram.” I watch this now and think, “Wow. My words were the beginning to THIS? Oh my goodness!”

Ars Poetica by Annelyse Gelman

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“A fireman puts out fires. An artist puts out artist statements.” So begins this entertaining poem by Annelyse Gelman, recited as any good ars poetica should be: in clown makeup, auditioning for the part of a poet who shares her name. The Vimeo description reads:

Poem and direction by Annelyse Gelman.

From the collection ‘Everyone I Love is a Stranger to Someone’ (Write Bloody, 2014).

Thanks to Rick “Tricky the Clown” Sahar for help with set and makeup.

The book is due out on April 4. Meanwhile, best of luck to Gelman in getting the part.

Either Or by Maxine Kumin

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This wonderfully abstract animation is the latest poetry film from Motionpoems, ably introduced on their site:

Socrates had some either/or thoughts about death. Poet Maxine Kumin has some thoughts about those thoughts. Filmmaker Adam Tow adds his thoughts to hers.

It’s with a heavy heart that we note the poet’s own death yesterday at the age of 88 — something Motionpoems couldn’t have anticipated when they chose this as their February selection. Their free emailed newsletter contained an interview with her; I don’t think they’d mind if I quoted it:

MOTIONPOEMS: Why did you decide to cut the Socrates quote with nearly six lines of cosmic imagery?

MAXINE KUMIN: I delayed the quote so I could set up the smallness, the insignificance of our planet in the great reach of space. Otherwise, there couldn’t have been any suspense and hence no poem.

MOTIONPOEMS: There’s an interplay in the poem between up and down, present and future. Your last line, “So much for death today and long ago,” seems inspired by the movement of the smoke, the squirrels, and the nuthatch, and the promise of snow. Why?

KUMIN: You notice it isnt the smoke, its the shadow of smoke, not snow but the promise of snow, tho the critters are real and present. I’m trying to say how evanescent the choice between life and death is, just as Socrates gives us his matter-of-fact but no less terrifying either/or.

MOTIONPOEMS: Motionpoems are used in classrooms a lot. If you were to recommend a writing prompt or exercise using this poem as a model, writing teachers and students might find that very useful.

KUMIN: Anything that gets students reading, especially outside their chosen field, makes a good jumping-off place for a poem. You dont have to be reading Socrates or Faulkner. Im a great jotter down of lines that pique my interest, from the newspaper to something weighty about, say, Jefferson … who was one of the first to bring the mule to this country … That would make me want to write about that hybrid the mule. (I havent but still might.)

For a good appreciation of Kumin’s long and illustrious career, see the Poetry Foundation’s biography. For more of Adam Tow’s work, visit his website.