Nationality: United States

Quadrant by Matt Dennison

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A 2015 video by Marie Craven, remixing old footage from the Prelinger Archives with a poem and voiceover by Matt Dennison and music by Dementio13.

Night on Klamath River by Patricia Killelea

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A videopoem by poet, teacher and musician Patricia Killelea using a text from her collection Counterglow. In an interview with Passages North, where she’s now the poetry editor, Killelea talked about the impetus behind her poetry videos:

I carry a video camera with me wherever I go—I think of it as my visual notebook. For a long time I theorized my poetry mostly in terms of sound and silence, but the more I started thinking about the relationship between my body and language, the more I wanted to create a multi-sensorial experience. We don’t experience language merely through sound or even visually on the page, but everywhere we go. I walk through the woods and I’m reminded of a story told to me by Oneida beadwork artist Karen Ann Hoffman, or I’m watching my bandmate Aubrey Hess cradle a jug of wine and it reminds me of thirst and insatiable longing. I think in terms of interwoven networks between words and images, sounds and movement and so my video poems are an attempt-in-progress to capture both my associative writing process as well as to situate my poetry in the actual, physical world of things.

Woke Up Asleep by Meghan McDonald

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A new videopoem from Meghan McDonald, a New York-based “Sound experimenter, visual poet, micro filmmaker and absurdist,” not to mention master of the succinct Twitter bio. Here’s the YouTube description:

“Woke Up Asleep” is a poetry video about awakening from the daily routines that seem to put us all in a fear-stricken daze. “The gutless” go on silently in order, but those who choose to step out of line are seen as mad.

knuckleshop by Cecelia Chapman and Jeff Crouch

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Just uploaded to Vimeo, this 2008 videopoem is from the long-time video-making partnership of artists Jeff Crouch and Cecelia Chapman:

Cecelia Chapman’s work explores the image in communication and revolves around environmental and cultural transformation.
For the past ten years Chapman has been collaborating with artist Jeff Crouch, with performer Christa Hunter, and with sound artists she meets online to produce short new media video.

The music here is by Crouch, as are the drawings. Rarely does one see an ekphrastic poetry video that succeeds as a separate artwork in its own right. Perhaps part of the key here is that Crouch’s sketches satisfy what I think of as the Konyvesian imperative: “In a successful videopoem, the work’s elements contain a collaborative property, an original incompleteness.” (Tom Konyves, In Retrospect: A Manifesto and its Underpinnings, p. 3.)

Aleppo by Howie Good

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A new videopoem by Marc Neys A.K.A. Swoon for a poem by Howie Good. Soundbites from Al Jazeera appear in the soundtrack together with Marc’s original music. When he shared it on Facebook, he included a brief note about its origin:

Howie Good wrote a strong poem, Aleppo. It called me and in one burst I created this video/soundpiece yesterday. Enjoy!

And a few days later, he indicated it might lead to more Swoon videopoems this year. Fingers crossed!

Song for Koko by Tommy Becker

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A poetic music video or a musical videopoem? Tommy Becker‘s videos for his Tape Number One project are hard to categorize, which is why I haven’t featured them here as often as I should. They blend “the artist’s poetics, songwriting, performance, costuming with found footage and computer design,” according to the statement on his website.

“Song for Koko” is from 2015. The accompanying text on Vimeo reads:

An elephant escapes from the circus and begins a rampage down a city street. His trunk tosses aside everything in his path. We cheer for him. Why? A man sits on an alligator and attempts to tie his mouth shut. The alligator contorts his body, throwing the man off before turning to bite. We are unsympathetic. Why? We take our children to the zoo to look at the monkeys. The children complain about their inactivity and we feel a sense of betrayal as we admit to ourselves that our observations are a fraud. What’s important in these situations of conflict and captivity is that we are seeing animals as equals. They are no longer the lesser species. A life force is being held against its will or once again running wild through the streets. The moment the lion lunges at the tamer we understand his motives. We relate viscerally to his oppression as we connect to the soul of its being.

Rapunzel Brings Her Women’s Studies Class to the Tower by Susan J. Erickson

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Bellingham, Washington-based poet Susan J. Erickson reads a poem from her 2016 collection Lauren Bacall Shares a Limousine in this film by poet and editor Ellie A. Rogers. The soundtrack is by Louis McLaughlin.

Rogers has just blogged about making the film:

Susan J. Erickson has red cowboy boots and impeccable diction. She’s a poet hero of mine who I met back in the land of Douglas fir, though we’re both ladies of the 10,000 lakes.

Sue won the Brick Road Poetry Press prize last year, and her book, Lauren Bacall Shares a Limousine, is out now. Her collection of lady persona poems is tonally diverse, smart, and powerful.

Sue asked me to make a book trailer for her. We chose to work with her poem “Rapunzel Brings Her Women’s Studies Class to the Tower” partially because I now live near a giant bell tower and tracts of forest, but mostly because this poem is a linchpin poem. Rapunzel is trying to “relinquish the rib of victimhood.” She pushes back against the story we tell about her. She tells her class “your voices are searchlights that can sweep the horizon to reveal fault lines and illuminate passage.” What a good lesson.