Nationality: United States

Two Miles After the Gravel Road Ends by Sherry O’Keefe

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This video based on a poem by Sherry O’Keefe uses public-domain footage shot in South Dakota in the late 1930s, as Marc Neys (Swoon) explains:

Promises are there to be broken (the ones I make to myself, that is)
I’ve said never to use the footage of Ivan Besse again. I didn’t.
Not until I came across ‘Two Miles After the Gravel Road Ends’ by Sherry O’Keefe in The Poetry Storehouse.
Sherry was one of the poets I did a video for in ‘my early days’. A videopoem and a collab that is still dear to my heart.
It was a pleasure to find her words on the shelves of the warehouse. Such beautiful words.

A lot of her poems tell stories. Great chunks of life wrapped in words and images. And these were just a perfect match for the storytelling images of Ivan Besse.

Metanoia Lost by Risa Denenberg

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This video remix by Nic Sebastian of a poem by Risa Denenberg layers in footage of one of those natural sights that moves us at a very primal level, I think — rain falling into water — to very good effect. In some process notes on her blog, Nic writes:

Poems on big metaphysical themes are some of the most rewarding to work as video remixes, because they leave the visual field wide open and give the remixer real opportunities to insert him or herself into a poem’s narrative and move it forward in complementary but different ways. This lovely poem by Risa Denenberg at The Poetry Storehouse was a case in point. I read it as beautifully capturing one of those devastating moments of big doubt we sometimes encounter.

Which is where it got personal. The belief I try to live by is that we are lying fallow during such bleak periods, and that, their awfulness notwithstanding, they are at the same time periods of underground preparation, restoration and growth. So I went with that approach. I thought rain, with its double connotation of weeping/mourning and of life-inspiring nature, was the perfect backdrop metaphor. [...]

For the cross-fades, I chose images with very personal connotations for me, but which I thought added the right ‘universal’ overtones of the twin companions, loss and hope. All of them jumped out at me as being ‘right’ as I flipped through my clips library. Ending with the bear family at the end might perhaps be a more upbeat conclusion than originally intended in the piece, but the image was insistent, so I went with it. The soundtrack with its lonely piano and melancholy motif and underlying energy was by Mustafank and really felt like rain to me.

There’s a bit more if you click through. I must say I’m grateful to Nic for blogging about her techniques and thought-process in such detail with almost every videopoem she makes.

Mine by Vanessa Agovida and Sarah Davis

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Vanessa Agovida and Sarah Davis both appear in this dramatized version of spoken-word poem they wrote concerned with domestic abuse, “created by Shannon Morrall’s Crew at Fordham University in 2014 as part of Campus MovieFest, the world’s largest student film festival.” It was nominated for Best Drama and won Best Actress from the 100 entries to the festival. Here’s the full credit list from YouTube:

Vanessa Agovida – Actress/Writer
Joe Gallagher – Actor
Fenizia Maffucci – Cinematographer
Sarah Davis – Actress/Writer
Amanda Pell – Composer
Carolyn Chadwick – Actress
Shannon Morrall – Director

Congratulations to these immensely talented students for a well-made, gripping film about a topic for which we all too often employ the wrong words and metaphors (or none at all).

Instructions to Hearing Persons Desiring a Deaf Man by Raymond Luczak

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A fascinating visual conversation between two videos. I always enjoy Raymond Luczak’s American Sign Language performance videos, but the call-and-response here was an extra treat. In the first video, “Luczak performs one of the more famous poems from his book MUTE. This clip was the basis for Brooke Griffin’s animated short film INSTRUCTIONS TO HEARING PERSONS”:

(Also available on Vimeo)

When Brooke Griffin, an animator, asked to adapt my poem [...] into a short film, I was surprised and flattered but consented. I performed the poem in ASL and gave her the original footage. I had no idea what she’d do with it, but eight months later, here it is! [...]

To learn more about Brooke Griffin’s work, please check out her web site: http://www.brooke.io/

And check out Luczak’s website as well. Mute was published by A Midsummer Night’s Press.

Flower Moon by Erica Goss

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Part 5 in the 12 Moons videopoem series from Atticus Review, and the first I think I’ve managed to post on the full moon. Credits are as usual: text by Erica Goss, recitation by Nic Sebastian, music by Kathy McTavish, and concept, music and direction by Marc Neys (Swoon). I thought I recognized some of the footage in this one, and a visit to Marc’s blog confirms it: I was present when he did the filming last August, during the first Filmpoem Festival in Dunbar, Scotland. Here’s what he says:

“Flower Moon,” where Erica Goss explores the privilege and burden of her name and all of its meanings.
A name afraid of loss.
A name the color of soil.
A name that sounds like
three small cars colliding.

These lines steered me in the direction of the footage used in this video.

I started to work with certain parts of that footage (shot last summer in Dunbar).
Once I had a basic montage, I awaited Nic’s reading to work on a soundscape with musical blocks provided by Kathy.

I said it before and I will say it again. Cooking’s fun and easy when you have great ingredients.

First Draft by Amy Wang

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An imaginative blend of graffiti-painting and performance poetry by Duke University student Chrislyn Choo, whose description at Vimeo reads:

Spoken word poem penned and performed by Amy Wang. Thank you for partnering with me to produce this final project for my film class, Amy!

Spell Against Impermanence by Kim Addonizio

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Cheryl Gross’ inimitable animations accompany Kim Addonizio’s reading.

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