Nationality: United States

Blue Black Wet of Wood by Carmen Gillespie

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A film by Sundance Award-winning director Malik Vitthal for Motionpoems, based on the title poem from Carmen Gillespie‘s 2106 collection from Two Silvias Press. An adept juxtaposition of filmpoem lyricism with the kind of storytelling familiar to movie-goers conveys a powerful sense of the experience of loss within the African American community and beyond.

Motionpoems have also released a video interview with Gillespie, filmed and edited by Ramble Pictures, about the origin of the poem and the film:

Eric Doise, who conducted the interview, also put together a lesson plan for poetry teachers [PDF] based on the film and interview — the sort of thing I hope to see a lot more of in the coming years, both from Motionpoems and from other poetry-film makers as well.

Fairytale Romance & Fear of Monsters by R.A. Briggs

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A new videopoem by Marc Neys A.K.A. Swoon uses text and voiceover from the American poet and philosopher R.A. Briggs. Other credits include:

Concept, editing, grading & Music: Marc Neys
Field recordings and footage: Jan Eerala
Extra Footage: FKY (from ‘The Sea Also Rises’)
webpage: vimeo.com/fky – Licence: ATTRIBUTION LICENSE 3.0
Thanks to Mazwai & Ray Hsu

Song for a Lady by Anne Sexton

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A simple but perfect animation of an Anne Sexton poem by Montreal-based multi-disciplinary artist Ohara Hale, with Maria Popova of the venerable Brain Pickings blog supplying the voiceover. It’s been viewed 136,000 times since Hale posted it to Vimeo in May of 2015. Popova blogged about their collaboration — a great post, too long to reproduce here. A snippet:

Hale’s concept, predicated on the mesmerism of angles, was inspired by legendary neurologist Oliver Sacks and his work on how the blind see the world. It sparked in her a fascination with how they construct a kaleidoscope of angularity, which led her to imagine how a dog is perceived not as a single dog but as a million dogs, each “seen” from a different angle. Many of the angles don’t resemble a “dog” in the pictorial sense but still contribute to the understanding of what a dog is.

This way of deconstructing the world into fragments and reconstructing them into a wholeness of understanding is so different from how we see via regular vision that, as Dr. Sacks so movingly wrote in The Mind’s Eye, the newly sighted are often utterly overwhelmed by having to process information in this new way and revert to “blindness,” closing their eyes and continuing to navigate the world scanning for angles.

Read the rest.

Years After You Die by Simone Savannah

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A highly personal, author-made videopoem by writer and doctoral student Simone Savannah. Like yesterday’s video, this was recently featured at The Continental Review.

In a 2015 interview with the Phoenix Rising Collective, Savannah discussed some of the family history that she also drew upon in this poem.

Translations (from The End of Something) by Kate Greenstreet

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A fascinating experiment in bilingual videopoetry from the always inventive Kate Greenstreet. Here’s the description on Vimeo, with italics and links added:

Based on early versions of poems from The End of Something translated into French by Alexander Dickow for the anthology Ligatures: Poets of France and America (Catala Press, 2017). Featuring the voice of Virginia Konchan speaking the French lines and a short video clip of Amaranth Borsuk (“the girls are gone”). This video first appeared in The Continental Review (thecontinentalreview.com).

It’s good to see The Continental Review, one of the oldest online poetry video journals, still putting out issues. Browse their latest material here. And be sure to visit Kate Greenstreet’s webpage for The End of Something to download a free music EP and watch three more videopoems based on texts in the forthcoming book. Ahsahta Press’s description begins:

In curating cartography together with lyric, poly-vocality with loneliness, and even the unspeakable with common speech, poet and artist Kate Greenstreet has created a surprising hybrid with The End of Something. The intimacy in Greenstreet’s partial narratives and slow admissions contrasts with much of what we consume as Americans, which is fleeting and feigns being “factual.”

Body With No Windows by Annelyse Gelman

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A film written and directed by Annelyse Gelman, who also composed the music in the soundtrack. Her description on Vimeo:

Body With No Windows explores death and embodiment through a collage of faceless sequences from public-domain home video footage of a Pennsylvania family in the 1950s.

It was featured in Issue 152 of TriQuarterly, where video editor Sarah Minor wrote:

In “Body With No Windows” by Annelyse Gelman, “human faces have been elided,” first found and then lost. Here, the tensions between vocal annunciation and the sharp timing of archival clips showcase Gelman’s practiced hand at working in collage. A woman on camera walking alone becomes a mother holding a child’s hand just as suddenly as “the feeling that your body belongs to you” might go away. Gelman’s opening soundscape signals a kind of dread or apprehension. This tone is quickly disrupted by quotidian footage of sunbathers in crabgrass, yard dogs, and tandem swimmers curated from the Prelinger Archives. In a particular fleeting style that intermedia texts seem to capture best, Gelman asks us to recognize the uncanny that we only witness in the daily lives of others, that particular waiting “to be carried from what you cannot remember to what you cannot forsee.”

Small Things Bind the World by Erica Goss

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This author-made videopoem by Erica Goss presents haiku in a really innovative way that I haven’t seen before. It was a Showcase Selection at the 2017 Rabbit Heart Poetry Film Festival. Erica writes:

I made this video last summer in my backyard. It’s a selection of haiku that seemed to tell a story, with big letters imposed over a glitter globe I bought at the MOMA-San Francisco gift shop. It’s somewhat nostalgic for me to watch this, as it’s one of the last art projects I did before moving from California to my new home in Eugene, Oregon.