Nationality: United States

S by Rachel Eliza Griffiths

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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.)

This Dull Chaos by A. H. Jerriod Avant

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An author-made videopoem by A. H. Jerriod Avant, one of the three lead curators of a new, Los Angeles Review of Books-sponsored website and YouTube channel called Voluble, where the video debuted:

“this dull chaos” wants to track a very specific emotion, through at least a singular episode of social chaos, right down to the family function. an episode where the speaker wants to escape, if just for a moment, or from a cycle of these moments, even if that escape’s no larger than one’s own mind, if that be a measure. these moments, hell bent on frightening the psyche, remind me of the love we often run from, the love that we don’t always get to keep, conflict, peace and how this breaks down at the infamous and beautiful family gathering. the photographs seek out angles, similar to the way a spider web’s thread does. also in its construction, with a center, “like an ambition done sat up in you,” I once heard an elder Black deacon say. it explores this episode of social chaos while simultaneously commenting on episodes or cycles of social chaos we witness at large and outside the walls of the home. the photographs move chaotically, not caught by any one rhythm. their changes are responses to certain disruptions. the speaker is frantic and at times, seems to wish to get a signal outside this one house for help, even if that help is time, relief or any mode of meditation and or sense-making.

Voluble looks like a promising site to follow for anyone interested in multimedia experimentation. From the About page:

Voluble is an off-the-page makers’ space for writers and artists of all kinds. The channel aspires to be an outlet for experimentation, play, collaboration, and any other gestures that coincide with a visual or literary art practice.

Voluble hopes to shed light on the personal, political, and public lives of writers and artists from around the world.

Gallery space, incubator, laboratory, studio! Each week a different artist or artists will use this online platform to show us their world.

Everyone is invited to join us in making this space as open, challenging, and diverse as the world we hope to live in. We are actively seeking works and proposals, and would love to carry on a conversation about interstitial, interdisciplinary creativity.

Elegy for a Hymen by Cindy St. Onge

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An author-made videopoem by Cindy St. Onge, using footage sourced from Shutterstock and a soundtrack by Jeff Beal, according to the Vimeo description.

two story train by Martha McCollough

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An author-made videopoem by Martha McCollough. It appears in Issue 4.0 of the experimental poetry zine Datableed.

The Small Ones by Lynne Sachs

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Experimental filmmaker Lynne Sachs created this videopoem with quotes from a cousin in the audio track juxtaposed with imagery on top of which several of the most memorable lines are repeated as text. Here’s the description from her website:

During World War II, the United States Army hired Lynne Sachs’ cousin, Sandor Lenard, to reconstruct the bones – small and large – of dead American soldiers. This short anti-war cine-poem is composed of highly abstracted battle imagery and children at a birthday party.

“Profound. The soundtrack is amazing. The image at the end of the girl with the avocado seed so hopeful. Good work.” Barbara Hammer

Black Maria Film Festival Director’s Choice Award; Ann Arbor Film Festival; Tribeca Film Festival; MadCat Film and Video Festival; Harvard Film Archive; Pacific Film Archive; Dallas Film Fest; Cinema Project, Portland.

available on Lynne Sachs 10 Short Films DVD from
and on For Life, Against the War DVD Compilation of 25 films from the Filmmakers Cooperative

A Noiseless Patient Spider by Walt Whitman

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This is one of the best student poetry films I’ve seen. Ayesha Raees is from Lahore, Pakistan, a literature student at Bennington College in Vermont who is writing her thesis on videopoetry. She told me she’s been working on this piece for the past eight months, and it shows. The spot-on music is by Sarah Rasines.

Raees’ decision to use just the second stanza of Whitman’s poem gives the text, I think, that quality of incompleteness that Tom Konyves maintains is intrinsic to each element in a true videopoem. (Read the complete poem at the Poetry Foundation website.) Another filmmaker’s take on the poem was recently deleted from Vimeo, so I’m pleased that such a fine new interpretation has appeared to take its place in the Moving Poems archive.

Bone Thinning by Beth McKinney

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Xiaomiao Wang, a doctoral student at the School of Art at Texas Tech University, worked with poet Beth McKinney to make this film as part of an exemplary, interdisciplinary poetry-film initiative, JOINT: A Poetry/Video Collaboration.

In the fall of 2015, poet John Poch and video artist Alex Henery collaborated to make the video poem Sonnet on Time. This collaboration is one of the several catalysts that led to the JOINT collaboration at Texas Tech University.

Throughout the spring semester of 2016, JOINT: A Poetry/Video Collaboration engaged Texas Tech University (TTU) students of Professors John Poch and Jiawei Gong in creating collaborative works of poetry and video/film throughout the spring semester of 2016. The student pairs met individually to craft a collaborative vision and product, working collectively to study and critique the production of work by collaborating faculty, artists and students. We hope you enjoy our work.

The completed projects were screened on May 3rd at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema to a packed house. Dr. Wyatt Phillips, assistant professor of Film & Media in the Department of English, served as juror of the videos. Having viewed all the work prior to the screening, the Juror’s award winners were announced before all the videos were screened. The Audience Choice Award, collected on ballots after the screenings, was announced the following day.

And Bone Thinning was the film the audience chose. View all the films on the TTU website or the JOINT channel on Vimeo. There’s also more information about the project and the visiting artists (who included the poet Todd Boss, director of Motionpoems).