Nationality: United States

Eggheads by John Koethe

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This is Talking Points, a film by Rob Perez for Motionpoems, based on the poem “Eggheads” by John Koethe. Perez tells a separate story in the film that intersects with the text in an interesting fashion. “Citizen journalist” Will Campbell writes about the poem and the film in some bonus materials on the Motionpoems website. Here’s an excerpt:

What drew Rob Perez to work on “Eggheads” was the challenge that came with adaptation. “I was interested in the idea and challenge of lifting a poem off the page and putting it on the screen” Perez said. That meant more than simply giving face to Koethe’s words. The film’s biggest challenge came in finding a way to preserve the quality of Koethe’s language while still making a film that uplifted the poem itself.

Perez’s solution to this dilemma was ambitious to say the least: let the poem speak for itself—supported, that is, by a narrative. His film adaptation of “Eggheads” combines a cool, crisp reading of the poem with jazz-tracked footage of a couple moving through the charmed humdrum of ordinary life. Their words are muted, leaving only their actions and something like “Take Five” to tell what they’re up to while in the background “Eggheads,” read by a separate narrator, gives meaning to the pair and their everyday world.

For Perez, the challenge of the film became finding just the right amount of narrative to support the poem without overburdening it. After all, “the poem is good enough to stand alone—otherwise it wouldn’t live like that. Therefore, my job is to find a story—of moving pictures—that allow the poem to say the same thing in a new medium. The screenplay, the actors, the frame, the score, sound effects, etc. are all tools to lift the poem off the page and onto the screen.”

Read the rest.

For Zachary by Mary Jo Balistreri

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A black-and-white film by Marc Neys AKA Swoon for a poem by Mary Jo Balistreri in The Poetry Storehouse. Marc posted some process notes to his blog:

A very beautiful poem. Heartfelt.
Nic Sebastian did a poignant reading that led to this track;

[listen on SoundCloud]

The visuals for this one are a combination of footage I shot during a hiking weekend last december (moody shots of trees, reflections, shadows…) alternated with the repetition of a boy falling (carefully edited out from a very lively action video by Justin Kauffman (under the Attribution license CC BY 3.0)

I think the ‘endless’ falling of the boy works well with the rest of the footage. Creating the right atmosphere for the poem and the soundtrack. There’s some comfort in this one I think.

A reminder, for any poets who might be reading this: the deadline for submissions to The Poetry Storehouse is coming up on February 28. After that it will transition to archive mode, adding new remixes (including videos) only up through September.

After Love by Roger Reeves

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A mirrored field turns into layered images of a church interior in this new videopoem from Ruben Quesada for

A poem by Roger Reeves from his debut collection of poetry, KING ME (Copper Canyon Press, 2013).

Music: “Symphony No. 5″ by Gustav Mahler

For more on Reeves, see the Poetry Foundation website. Here’s King Me.

When They Came for Us by Johanna DeBiase

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It’s always great to see an author-made animation. This one has a delightfully down-home, improvisational feel, but it’s obviously very carefully thought-out; the sudden intrusion of the animator’s hands is genius. The Taos, New Mexico-based writer Johanna DiBiase specializes in fiction, but judging from her website bio is something of a Renaissance woman.

Stopping is Prohibited by Dale Wisely

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Alabama-based poet, publisher and psychologist Dale Wisely continues his experiments with videopoetry, here contributing his own text and music and using public-domain footage from Pond5. He credits a story on Radiolab for inspiring some of the text, which is not the first time a film-poet has been inspired by that show.

Lilies of the Field by Laura M Kaminski

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Australian artist Marie Craven‘s video remix of a poem from The Poetry Storehouse by Missouri-based poet Laura M Kaminski. Craven recently blogged some process notes on three films she’s made with Kaminski’s poems, including this one:

I met Laura on social media after the first video, and our mutual membership of the Pool creative group put us in more contact after that. I sent her a message about making something new with her writing, and asked if she would be interested in responding in poetry to four pieces of royalty-free video footage I had found at VideoBlocks. She was interested in a continued collaboration and willing to write a new poem. But her first response to the images I sent was that they reminded her of a poem she had already written, ‘Lilies of the Field’. I loved the poem, agreed there was a fit, and so went to work. I decided text on screen might be the way to go for this video. To that end, I rearranged the line breaks in the poem to better suit the screen, which Laura welcomed in the final result. In response to the poem, I also found additional video images to go with the original ones I had sent Laura. One of these – the road at night shot – is by videographer, Gene Cornelius in Alaska, whose fantastic videography is featured in some of my previous videopoems. The music in the video is Slow Blizzard by Clutter (aka Shaun Blezard in Cumbria, UK). Shaun and I have been in online contact on and off for several years and this is a track I’ve loved since I first heard it in about 2010. Once the video was completed, I contacted Nic Sebastian at The Poetry Storehouse to ask if she might be interested in publishing the poem and video at the site. They are both now there.

Dictionary Illustrations by Sarah Sloat

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Sarah Sloat is an American poet who works as journalist in Germany, and whose poems appear widely in print and online journals—including at The Poetry Storehouse, where Marc Neys A.K.A. Swoon found the text for this film. As he notes in a recent blog post, it’s the first in a series of at least five films based on Poetry Storehouse poems that he has in the works.

I really loved the poem (the visuals) and the reading (so good) by DM.
Making a track for this reading was fun;
[listen on SoundCloud]
Broken rhythms crashing in a fleeting piano. Not much more was needed for this.
For the visuals I wanted to go back to my childhood.
As a kid I loved hanging ’round the local market. The colours, the noise, the shouting, the smell,…
I thought it might be a good idea to match this poem/soundtrack with images and footage from IICADOM.

Combining images from different market places with shots from local animals filmed at several travels. It gives the video the right amount of colour and naïve amazement I was looking for.

A reminder, for any poets who might be reading this: the deadline for submissions to The Poetry Storehouse is coming up on February 28. After that it will transition to archive mode, adding new remixes (including videos) only up through September.

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