Nationality: United States

Subterranean Homesick Blues by Bob Dylan

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This clip from D. A. Pennebaker‘s 1967 documentary Don’t Look Back remains an innovative, proto music video. Poetry-film expert Alice Lyons included it in her list of “Ten Films to Look at When You Want to Think About Poetry and Film.”

Human by Meghann Plunkett

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Andrés Fernández Cordón of the Buenos Aires-based studio Sloop animated and directed this adaptation of a charming poem by U.S. poet Meghann Plunkett. The Vimeo description notes that “We approached the production much in the same way the poem reads, step by step, drawing one frame after the other without knowing before hand where it would take us.” Plunkett provided the voiceover, and the music is by Shayfer James.

The video was featured at Luna Luna Magazine on August 30, with an accompanying appreciation by Aja Monet, a fellow poet and friend of Plunkett’s since college, as she recounts. Check it out.

lighght by Aram Saroyan

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I’ve been reading Aram Saroyan‘s Complete Minimal Poems and wondering how one might make a videopoem out of a one-word poem. Then I found British photographer Duncan Wooldridge’s Reading Aram Saroyan On The Bus, 2015 (1minute extract), which deploys Saroyan’s most infamous poem of all. Wooldridge’s Vimeo description:

Reading Aram Saroyan’s poem ‘lighght’ on the bus towards Camberwell Green, as a work of durational reading using the technical apparatus of the camera.

I wonder how long the whole video is? I love the idea of it almost as much as I love the idea of the original poem.

Grouse Song by Ruth Thompson

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An improvised dance interpretation of a poem by Hawai’i-based poet Ruth Thompson from her latest book, Crazing. The dancers are Jenn Eng, Claudia Hagan, Anna Javier, Chloe Oldfather, Catherine Rehberg, and the poet herself. Camera, editing and audio are by Don Mitchell. The music is from the Miró Quartet.

It Was Cloudy: Aabjito’ikidowinan 2 / Used Words 2 by Heid E. Erdrich

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A poemeo animated by Jonathan Thunder, written in English by Heid E. Erdrich, translated to Ojibwe language by Margaret Noodin. This poem began when Heid was reading the Nichols and Nylhom Ojibwe language dictionary and practicing her pronunciation, which is always a challenge. The dictionary page is almost entirely made of Ojibwe words for clouds. It ends with “club” which is how winter starts.
Miigwech!

Visit Heid E. Erdrich and Jonathan Thunder on the web.

Eleven Reflections on September, part 11: Judgment / Traveling by Andrea Assaf

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Thinking about how the entirely preventable tragedies of the so-called War on Terror unfolded after September 11, 2001, and agonizing about what we might’ve done to stop it, language breaks down. From poet Andrea Assaf and the Art2Action theater group, including video artist Pramila Vasudevan, “Eleven Reflections on September” is

a poetry/spoken word, multimedia performance on Arab American experience, Wars on/of Terror, and “the constant, quiet rain of death amidst beauty” that each autumn brings in a post-9/11 world. This production is based on the series of poems Andrea Assaf has been writing since 2001, spanning the fall of the towers, the on-going wars, and the current revolutions and conflicts sweeping through the Arab world. Aesthetically, the poems explore the disintegration of language in the face of violence, prejudice, and unspeakable horror; as such, they progress from lyrical to abstract and broken. The annual witnessing of autumn leaves becomes a metaphor for the fallen–soldiers and civilians … This multi-disciplinary project includes performances with interactive media design and live music; community dialogues; visual arts exhibits; open mics, panels and opportunities for action through partnerships with Iraq Veterans Against the War and other peace organizations.

The Vimeo description for this video reads:

An excerpt from “Eleven Reflections on September” by Andrea Assaf

Poem # 11: Judgment
Post-script 1: Traveling

Video Art by Pramila Vasudevan.
Sound Design for “Judgment” by Owen Henry & Keegan Fraley.

Choreographic Assignment: Raise me from the dead. From the metaphorical underworld to the heavens. Once you have lifted my body-spirit from the ground, help me travel to the afterlife. Travel with me, and send me on my way.

Cue: After the poem “Judgment” ends (repeating “just stop” 3x), the Daf pulses three times, followed by a chapreez — and the ritual to raise the dead begins. It will continue through the end of “Traveling”.

Movement during the re-mixed/voiceover section of “Judgment”: I am responding to the fragmented, falling, exploding words with my body — torso, arms and head only, while kneeling on the ground. This section is my descent into the underworld, so to speak — or simply my disintegration, from which you will raise/remake me…

A note on “Traveling” — This poem is an English translation of Mohamed Bouazi’s suicide note to his mother, posted on his Facebook page. Tarek al-Tayyib Muhammad ibn Bouazizi, a 26-year old Tunisian fruit vendor who quit high school to work and support his mother and sisters, set himself on fire on December 17, 2010, after his wares were confiscated … A fire that sparked the revolution now known as “The Arab Spring”. His last note is pure poetry, his final act pure protest. The poem, by Andrea Assaf, was published by Mizna in the Spring 2012 issue on “Literature in Revolution.”

Visit the Eleven Reflections on September channel on Vimeo to watch other excerpts from the piece, including live performance videos.

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

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