Nationality: United States

First Aid to Control Bleeding by Cindy St. Onge

Poet: | Nationality: | Filmmaker:

Cindy St. Onge calls this “a video remix dirge.” To me, it’s political remix videopoetry done right: responsive to the political moment yet aesthetically balanced and restrained, and highly imaginative in its juxtaposition of image and text (from a first aid manual). St. Onge includes just long enough of a clip from the cellphone video of a dying Philando Castile for the content to register with the viewer, but not so much that it seems disrespectful or exploitative, I think.

Where Commuters Run Over Black Children, 1971 by Lillien Waller

Poet: | Nationality: | Filmmaker:

Generally, I think my work is interested in how history bears down on the individual and on communities, how it affects people’s lives in large ways, as in social policy, but also in kind of the small things that trickle down, like how much glass is on your kid’s playground.

For Fourth of July weekend, here’s a portrait of Detroit-based poet Lillien Waller combining interview excerpts with historic footage and Waller’s recitation of her poem. It was directed by Oren Goldenberg (Cass Corridor Films) for Kresge Arts in Detroit, where Waller was a Literary Arts Fellow in 2015. The soundtrack incorporates music by Sterling Toles.

Two poems by Tarfia Faizullah

This video produced for Voluble incorporates two stylistically distinct, musically compelling video remixes for poems by Tarfia Faizullah, “Feast or Famine” and “Love Poem Ending with the Eye of a Needle.” Faizullah notes in a YouTube comment that

this was a result of a collaboration between me, emcee and producer Brooklyn Shanti, and tabla player and activist Robin Sukhadia. The film for the second poem is sampled from Sita Sings the Blues, an animated film that the director made available through Creative Commons. The footage for the first is tourist footage of Bangladesh.

Starfish Aorta Colossus (excerpt) by Paolo Javier

Poet: | Nationality: | Filmmaker: ,

Filmmakers Lynne Sachs and Sean Hanley collaborated on this piece in response to a text by the Filipino American poet Paolo Javier. Here’s the description from Vimeo:

Starfish Aorta Colossus
poem by Paolo Javier
film Lynne Sachs and Sean Hanley
4 1/2 min., 2015

Poetry watches film. Film reads poetry. Paolo Javier’s text is a catalyst for the digital sculpting of an 8mm Kodachrome canvas. Syntactical ruptures and the celebration of nouns illuminate twenty-five years of rediscovered film journeys.

NYC poet Paolo Javier invited filmmaker Lynne Sachs to create a film that would speak to one of his poems from his newly published book Court of the Dragon (Nightboat Books). Sachs chose Stanza 10 from Javier’s poem “Starfish Aorta Colossus”. She then decided to collaborate with film artist Sean Hanley in the editing of the film. Together, they traveled through 25 years of unsplit Regular 8 mm film that Sachs had shot — including footage of the A.I.D.S. Quilt from the late 1980s, a drive from Florida to San Francisco, and a journey into a very untouristic part of Puerto Rico. Throughout the process, Sachs and Hanley explore the celebration of nouns and the haunting resonances of Javier’s poetry.

Regular 8 mm film shot by Lynne Sachs
Edit by Sean Hanley with Lynne Sachs

The Future is Here by Bianca Stone

Poet: | Nationality: | Filmmaker:

“Nothing bad can touch this life I haven’t already imagined.” This stunning black-and-white poetry film from UK filmmaker Helen Dewbery and US poet Bianca Stone should serve as a reminder—if any were needed—of the power of international collaboration on this day when the advocates for Little England seem to have triumphed. The poem is from Stone’s 2014 collection Someone Else’s Wedding Vows. Colin Heaney composed the music.

The Way The Light Reflects by Richard Siken

Poet: | Nationality: | Filmmaker:

An author-made videopoem by the Tucson, Arizona-based poet Richard Siken. As with his first videopoem, Why, this does double-duty as a music video for the French singer Marianne Dissard, though this time it’s an instrumental: “Fondre”, off the album L’Abandon (2010), composed by Christian Ravaglioli. Click through to Vimeo for the full credits and the text of the poem.

S by Rachel Eliza Griffiths

Poet: | Nationality: | Filmmaker:

Another author-made videopoem recently published by Voluble, this time from the enormously talented poet and photographer Rachel Eliza Griffiths. Click through to listen to her artist’s statement, where she explains that “‘S’ is the first piece in a trilogy of videos that engage Audre Lorde’s poem The Black Unicorn.” Her discussion of the relationship between audio and video, hearing and seeing in her creation of the video is absolutely fascinating.

This concludes this week’s focus on videopoems or poetry films made solely by the poet her- or himself. Over the years I’ve shared many such videos, and Matt Mullins put together an annotated gallery of Ten Notable Single-Author Videopoems to showcase some of the best. There are many more examples of films that emerge from active collaborations between the poet and the filmmaker. I hadn’t planned this as a promotion for the Rabbit Heart Poetry Film Festival, which alone among poetry film and videopoetry festivals requires the poet to have been directly involved in making the video, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that their deadline for submissions is coming up on July 1. (Which happens also to to be the deadline for the 2016 ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival.)

1...23456...126