Nationality: United States

Telegenic by Erica Goss

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It’s Long War week at Moving Poems, and (appropriately perhaps) it’s going to be an unusually long week, with videos right through the weekend. That is in part because so far we’ve heard only from men, which doesn’t seem right, given that wars disproportionately impact women. Today, the California poet and videopoetry critic Erica Goss helps us right the balance with her first author-made videopoem. But according to the description on Vimeo, it won’t be her last:

This is the first in a series of three videos based on poems I’ve written about the subject of war. The word “telegenic” was given to me from a radio broadcast I heard during the 2014 attack on Gaza. Much of the poem was influenced by an encounter I had with an Iraq war veteran at a poetry writing event in San Jose, California. The images of children, sunrise and the woman are different from the usual images one associates with war: they are intended to remind us of what is lost to violence.

The music is guitarist Sam Eigen’s interpretation of the Rite of Spring theme. Sam composed the music specifically for this video, with my guidance. The music was recorded at Keith Holland Studio in Los Gatos, California. Don Peters, my husband, is the narrator; it took us many recordings to get his voice right for the video. I wanted someone with a “normal” voice – i.e., not a “poetry voice” – to tell the story.

To find footage, I searched Video Blocks for images that seemed to create associations. The clips I chose came together in an intuitive way.

I am grateful for the feedback I received from Dave Bonta and Marc Neys (Swoon), two artists whose work I greatly respect and who have influenced me in creating my first video poem.

The poem “telegenic” was first published at New Verse News: newversenews.blogspot.com/2014/11/telegenic.html

Here, Bullet by Brian Turner

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This week at Moving Poems we’re marking the 15th anniversary of the US Congress’ nearly unanimous passage of the Authorization to Use Military Force on September 14, 2001, which launched the modern era of essentially endless, unlimited war. How better to begin than with Iraq War veteran Brian Turner‘s justly famous poem “Here, Bullet“? In an interview recorded at the 2009 Poetry International Festival at Rotterdam, Turner acknowledges the influence of Philip Levine’s poem “They Feed They Lion.” The video concludes with his recitation of the poem.

At Thirty by Paula Bohince

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A poem by Paula Bohince adapted to film by Thibault Debaveye for Motionpoems, who refer to it on Facebook as

our first crowdsourced voiceover! Thanks to our voiceover artists John W. Goodman, Jeannie Elizabeth, Louis Murphy, Amy Miller, Jennifer Jabaily-Blackburn, Veronica Suarez, Carrie Simpson, Michelle Meyer, Juliet Patterson, Will Campbell, and Clare McWilliams.

Debaveye’s description on Vimeo:

Feeling empty. Null and void. Finding a new identity.
“At Thirty”, a visual poem about this feeling of being there but not being present.
Non-existent silhouette of ordinary people as they go about their lives in everyday chores.

See Motionpoems’ upload for the full credits, and visit their website to read the text of the poem and a brief interview with Bohince.

River Étude by Sandra Louise Dyas

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What mysteries lie hidden in a single name? As if in answer to the OTTERAS videopoem Navn Nome Name and its celebration of a telephone book’s worth of names, Iowa-based artist Sandra Louise Dyas set out to pay closer attention to one great river of a word, as the Vimeo description explains:

River Étude is an experimental video poem inspired by the Mississippi River and John Cage. When I was very little, I learned how [to] spell Mississippi and Dubuque by singing the letters. Life offers you nothing to hang onto. To survive you must learn how to let go and swim. Become the water. Stop resisting.

Afternoon by Max Ritvo

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American poet Max Ritvo‘s death of cancer at 25 was widely mourned on social media last week. As the New York Times noted, much of his work was devoted to chronicling his struggle with Ewing’s sarcoma, which he contracted at 16. The above video is one of a pair of animations by Nate Milton produced to accompany an NPR podcast, as the YouTube description explains:

Ritvo visited the Only Human podcast for the second time during what he called his “farewell tour”. His debut collection, “Four Reincarnations” will be published later this year. Listen to the episode here: http://www.wnyc.org/story/max-ritvo/

See also the other animation, “Poem to My Litter.”

The Translation by Brendan Constantine

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Sarah Jensen directed this adaptation of a poem by Los Angeles-based poet Brendan Constantine (which I found via his website, following a link below his excellent new poem in Rattle, “Red Sugar Blue Smoke“). Here’s the description on Vimeo:

A Hello, Margeaux Production
Written and Read by Brendan Constantine
Write Bloody Publishing
Music by Carina Pearson
Featuring Laura Whitfield and Philip Hood
Concept and Direction by Sarah Jensen
Video and Edit by Amy Hobbs

Phenomenal Woman by Maya Angelou

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A narrative-style poetry film directed by Elizabeth Masucci and starring Danielle Brooks from Orange Is the New Black. Alfredo Alcántara is the cinematographer, Eric Spang edited, and Andrew Freedman wrote the score. It’s the first of a projected five-film series of poetry shorts celebrating women than Masucci plans to direct. A crowd-funding campaign has raised nearly $15,000 to support the project so far. Masucci writes:

I’ve always been a sucker for a good poem. Call me nerdy or sentimental, but it’s the truth. I love beautiful language. Unfortunately, poetry isn’t considered “cool” or “popular” like it used to be. We can change that. Bill Murray said “poetry is the voice of the soul.” A good poem gets to the truth of humanity more than any other art form. This is why I’d like to use poetry in these short films instead of standard dialogue.

Women in the entertainment business have to take a back seat most of the time. And as an actress, I find that there aren’t as many interesting and dynamic roles for women as there are for men. There aren’t enough compelling and truthful female voices in entertainment. These are my reasons for making these poetry short films about the female experience through the voices of female poets.

Click through to read more about the series.