Nationality: United States

Part 5 by Claire Williams

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Claire Williams is both poet and performer here—but this is not a performance-poetry video, as you’ll see. Cinematography, design and editing are by Etta Jaffe, with production assistance by Grace Williams.

Apology of Genius by Mina Loy

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A blog post about modernists by Ira Lightman, current digital poet-in-residence at the Poetry School, made me realize I’d never posted anything by Mina Loy at Moving Poems. Searching Vimeo, I found this film by the Finnish videopoet J.P. Sipilä.

This film poem is based on a poem ‘Apology of Genius’ by Mina Loy. I have always read this poem as a poem against futurism, even Loy was herself considered as a futurist. It stand agains the rough and hard world where thoughts and time are replaced by power and speed. And this is something I have underlined on this film. This film poem is about inequality, about something that prevents us from understanding each other. It’s an apology of understanding.

The music is credited to Samuli Sailo, with additional sounds from freesound.org. Though the film uses a little less than half of Loy’s text, it strikes me as very true to her spirit. (Read the complete poem at allpoetry.com.)

I wonder what Loy would’ve thought of videopoetry? I’ve always loved her definition of poetry:

Poetry is prose bewitched, a music made of visual thoughts, the sound of an idea.

Lexiconography 1 by Heid E. Erdrich and Margaret Noodin

A fascinating experiment in translation. R. Vincent Moniz, Jr. is the producer and co-director with Jonathan Thunder (art direction and animation). Poet Heid E. Erdrich collaborated with translator Margaret Noodin of Ojibwe.net, as the YouTube description makes clear:

This short poem film, created by R. Vincent Moniz, Jr. and Jonathan Thunder, experiments with animation and sound in a bi-lingual tribute to the nearly extinct wooden clothespin. Created with English words from a bi-lingual dictionary entry for the word “cloud” the poem is brought to action in both English and Anishinaabemowin.

“Lexiconography 1″ is one of a series of poems Heid E. Erdrich has collaborated on with Margaret Noodin. Heid’s original text in English (written with an awareness of Ojibwe language) is translated into Anishinaabemowin and then back into English to reveal tensions between the language as Noodin sees them. The animated poem is not a strict translation of the English. “Lexiconography 1″ is available as a FREE downloadable work of art by Meghan Keane at www.broadsidedpress.org

Here’s that artwork (PDF).

I’ve long maintained that videopoetry is a great medium for communicating the power of poetry across language barriers, and I think this is a good example of that.

I Would Like to Go On A Bike Ride by Denise Newman

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A minimalist, author-made videopoem:

Images and initial sound by Denise Newman
Singing by Dame Joan Sutherland “Rose Softly Blooming” from the opera Zemira and Azor

Newman, who also teaches college undergraduates, has somehow managed to get snails to collaborate on videopoems. I asked her how she did it, and she replied:

Aren’t those snails talented? No training and it only took one shot. I worked with other snails after that but had to become a “snail whisperer” to get them to cooperate.

One Story by Cristina Norcross

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This Swoon (Marc Neys) film for a Poetry Storehouse poem by Cristina Norcross remixes footage from kenji kawasawa and Colby Moore. Swoon’s blog post about the film includes an interesting reaction from the poet:

Our lives are separate, yet we are bonded – part of an organic whole. Perhaps we are becoming more and more isolated. I would like to believe that there is hope for us to find common ground – to rediscover the beauty of our human connection.

When I first sat down to write the poem, “One Story,” I was actually in the middle of watching Charlie Kaufman’s film, Synecdoche, New York (2008), with Philip Seymour Hoffman.

The dialogue and concept of the film struck a chord with me, and I was unable to wait until the end, to start writing down thoughts. I was transfixed by the notion of how our separateness and isolation is actually a dream.

We are all one. We are all part of the same story. From this seed, I fleshed out images of people I knew or people I had seen on the street. The actress learning her lines on a threadbare couch, sitting on hope, was (and still is) me and my fellow poet, artist, songwriter friends. We are all dreaming about having our ideas take shape – having them take flight.

When I found out that Marc Neys was developing a video remix for my poem, I was quite excited to see how he would interpret the words through the lens of film, images, and music. From the first glimpse, I was captivated by the balloons and mesmerized by the atmospheric sounds and voices underneath the recording of my poem. Each time I view the film, I see more details that have meaning for me. Marc truly captures the bustling, city feeling of many individuals sharing space. He also skillfully conveys how each person is unique. Each balloon finds its own direction, and yet at the end, the balloons form concentric circles. There is a never-ending string that connects us. We belong to one another. You are those feet drifting back and forth in the hammock. You are the father holding a toddler on your shoulders. These images are a glimpse and a gift. Even the very end of the film leaves an echo of how we connect: “What is your name? Mary? That is beautiful. That is a beautiful name.”

Sometimes the Water by Kallie Falandays

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Marie Craven remixed some surreal footage by Simone Mogliè and Fernanda Veron, music by Adrian Carter, and Nic Sebastian‘s reading of a poem by Kallie Falandays at the Poetry Storehouse. (Nic has also made her own video for the poem.) I’m especially impressed by the bold choice of music. It shocked me at first, but I eventually came to feel that it provides just the right contrast for the dream-like imagery, throwing it and the voiceover into high relief. I can’t tell you how many videos I’ve chosen not to share here just because the music struck me as too stale or predictable.

Noble Savage Learns To Tweet by LeAnne Howe

A videopoem by Choctaw novelist and poet LeAnne Howe and director R. Vincent Moniz, Jr., with artwork and animation by Jonathan Thunder. Though it may seem tailor-made for the film, like Heid Erdrich’s “Pre-Occupied” the poem originally appeared in text form at 99 Poems for the 99%, where the author included these notes:

1. Dutch settlers built the ‘Wall path’ sometime around 1692 to keep out the Indians. In other words it was built for white settlers to keep out undesirables to protect developing commerce. According to Hermes-Press.com, the Wall path “joined the banks of the East River with those of the Hudson River on the west.” Wall path later named Wall Street. Hence the poem’s narrator, Noblesavage, tweets irony.

2. “Indian agent” is a double entendre and can be read as Noblesavage’s agent, authorized to act on his behalf for acting roles in Hollywood westerns; or as an individual authorized to interact with American Indians authorized on behalf of the federal government.

3. “Ford and Cameron” refer to Hollywood film directors John Ford and James Cameron.

4. #AI.com is a site for “artificial intelligence.” Another irony, Noblesavage is not real, a creation of Hollywood imagemakers.