Nationality: United States

Dear White America by Danez Smith

This may be a basic video (from the livestream by Katalogon of Poetry International Festival Rotterdam, 2 June 2018), but it is nevertheless essential watching: a master poet at the top of his game calling out the rot at the heart of the American dream. The text is from Danez Smith’s award-winning collection Don’t Call Us Dead and has been reprinted online at Literary Hub.

The Junicho Video-Renku Book by Eve Luckring

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In the course of ordering the new book The Tender Between by noted modern haiku poet Eve Luckring, I looked up her website and discovered to my pleasure that she’s also a multimedia artist who has experimented with videopoetry to great effect. So I’m featuring this 12-part series as my sole post to the main site this week, in the hopes that vistors will find the time to watch it. For those with limited time, however, Luckring has also uploaded an excerpt:

The Vimeo description reads:

The Junicho Video-Renku Book is a series of 12 “twelve-tone” video-poems (1:45-3 minutes each) based on a form of 17th century Japanese poetry called renku.

The experience of watching a video-renku is phantasmagoric. From a centipede trapped in a sink to a man singing karaoke to his pet love-birds, The Junicho Video-Renku Book creates a richly layered collage of moving image, sound, and text that journeys through the everyday. Similar to an exquisite corpse, renku is composed as a counter-narrative according to a complex set of rules based on the structural devices of “link and shift”. In addition to many other parameters, the verses of a renku must travel through all four seasons, comment on love, and address both the moon and blossom.

Luckring’s website adds:

The Junicho Video-Renku Book premiered at The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles and has since been presented at &NOW 2015: Blast Radius, California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, The Wroclaw Media Art Biennale, 2015, Poland and Whitespace, 2017, Atlanta, GA.

Coyote Wedding by Brittani Sonnenberg

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A poem by Austin, Texas-based writer Brittani Sonnenberg adapted for the Visible Poetry Project by UK artist Jane Glennie. “A key technique in her films is to take hundreds of photographs, which are edited and sequenced into rapid ‘flicker films’ and combine them with composite soundtracks,” as Gklennie’s bio on the VPP website puts it.

Half-life by Luisa A. Igloria

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Two Moving Poems regulars—filmmaker Eduardo Yagüe and poet Luisa A. Igloria—in their first collaboration, a film for the Visible Poetry Project. Luisa provided the voiceover, and the actress, as in so many of Eduardo’s poetry films, is the wonderful Gabriella Roy. The music is an original composition by Four Hands Project. The poem originally appeared on Via Negativa, the literary blog I share with Luisa, last October.

Luisa had another poetry video this spring, too: Marc Neys (a.k.a. Swoon) made the trailer for her latest collection of poems, The Buddha Wonders if She is Having a Mid-Life Crisis.

Small Shoes by Maggie Smith

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This simple but devastating poetry film pairs U.S. poet Maggie Smith with Irish filmmaker Kate Dolan. It’s the latest web release from Motionpoems’ Season 8, “Dear Mr. President”. As a nature lover I appreciated the inclusion of a starfish in one shot, subtly suggesting a link between the deaths of human refugees and of species impacted by global warming — a small but effective example of how a film can add additional dimensions to the poem on the page.

The Ayes Have It by Tiana Clark

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Directed by Savanah Leaf, this is the first film from Motionpoems’ Season 8, “Dear Mr. President,” to be released on the web. Tiana Clark‘s poem is included in her collection I Can’t Talk About the Trees Without the Blood, which won the 2017 Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize and is due out this fall from the University of Pittsburgh Press.

Click through to Vimeo for the full credits.

Where Are The African Gods by Abbey Lincoln

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A powerful poem by Abbey Lincoln becomes even more powerful in this viral video, which filmmaker Rodney Passé calls a “meditative portrait of black masculinity.”

A moving recording of the late writer and renowned jazz singer Abbey Lincoln is captured in this new film from Brooklyn-born director Rodney Passé, who has previously worked with powerhouse music video director Kahlil Joseph. Reading from her own works, Lincoln’s voice sets the tone for a film that explores the African American experience through fathers and their sons.

You can also watch Lincoln reciting the poem, along with “The Man Who Has The Magic,” in this interview on YouTube:

Hat-tip: Cinematic Poems.