Nationality: United States

The Robots Are Coming by Kyle Dargan

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A film by Minneapolis-based animator Julia Iverson for Motionpoems — their latest episode, in partnership with Cave Canem. I love the poem by Kyle Dargan, from his 2015 collection Honest Engine.

Like Breath, Like Air by Mari Pack

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From Quail Bell Magazine, here’s a video by Christine Stoddard and David Fuchs featuring a poem by poet, essayist, copywriter, and radio producer Mari Pack. According to a piece in the Huffington Post back in January,

The day after the women’s marches in Washington, D.C., New York, and other cities around the world, Brooklyn-based artist Christine Stoddard photographed feminist poet Mari Pack. She wanted to capture a strong woman caught in a vulnerable time. After Stoddard produced a set of photo collages from the shoot, Pack paired one of the collages with one of her poems. The rest of the photo collages will appear in a poetry film written and narrated by Pack and edited by David Fuchs.

This I presume is that film. Incidentally, in addition to their in-house productions, Quail Bell Magazine does appear to consider others’ multimedia productions as well — see their guidelines for submission. I rather like their mission statement.

1700% Project: Mistaken for Muslim by Anida Yoeu Ali

Made seven years ago, this collaboration between Cambodian-American performance artist and poet Anida Yoeu Ali and Japanese-American filmmaker Masahiro Sugano is, sadly, more relevant than ever, with hate crimes against Muslims (and those erroneously assumed to be Muslim) escalating in the U.S. under an administration that has embraced a white Christian supremacist ideology. This was the Film of the Month for January at Poetryfilmkanal. See the 1700% Project website for much more information about the film, including bios of the collaborators and the text of the poem, a cento based on hate crimes committed shortly after 9/11. The video description reads:

In this video, narratives collide with music, poetry and politics to create a complex and layered experience. A poet, dancer, angel, prisoner converge with members of the Muslim community to speak, deflect, and intervene against racial profiling and hate crimes. This convergence exemplifies a spirit of defiance and resistance from communities of people who refuse to end in violence.

This spoken word video is a collaboration between artist Anida Yoeu Ali and filmmaker Masahiro Sugano with over 50 diverse volunteers, participants and community members in the Chicagoland area. It is part of an ongoing project that engages art as a form of intervention against the racial profiling of Muslims in a post 9/11 era. The larger project titled “The 1700% Project” uses a multi-faceted artistic approach to educate the wider public about the diversity within the Muslim community. The number 1700% refers to the exponential percentage increase of hate crimes against Arabs, Muslims and those perceived to be Arab or Muslim since the events of September 11, 2001.

As the article in Poetryfilmkanal notes, the lack of didacticism makes this film more powerful and provocative than most political poetry. Ali says in her artist’s statement:

The project acknowledges that politically driven works are complex and layered thus often requiring a multitude of ways for expression and encounter. … My work continues to investigate the residual stain of performance and how the live body completes the experience for both audience and performer. Performing narratives is an act of social storytelling that contributes to collective healing. For me, performance and storytelling become ways of bridging the interior and exterior space of self as well as initiate critical dialogues between communities and institutions.

Quadrant by Matt Dennison

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A 2015 video by Marie Craven, remixing old footage from the Prelinger Archives with a poem and voiceover by Matt Dennison and music by Dementio13.

Night on Klamath River by Patricia Killelea

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A videopoem by poet, teacher and musician Patricia Killelea using a text from her collection Counterglow. In an interview with Passages North, where she’s now the poetry editor, Killelea talked about the impetus behind her poetry videos:

I carry a video camera with me wherever I go—I think of it as my visual notebook. For a long time I theorized my poetry mostly in terms of sound and silence, but the more I started thinking about the relationship between my body and language, the more I wanted to create a multi-sensorial experience. We don’t experience language merely through sound or even visually on the page, but everywhere we go. I walk through the woods and I’m reminded of a story told to me by Oneida beadwork artist Karen Ann Hoffman, or I’m watching my bandmate Aubrey Hess cradle a jug of wine and it reminds me of thirst and insatiable longing. I think in terms of interwoven networks between words and images, sounds and movement and so my video poems are an attempt-in-progress to capture both my associative writing process as well as to situate my poetry in the actual, physical world of things.

Woke Up Asleep by Meghan McDonald

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A new videopoem from Meghan McDonald, a New York-based “Sound experimenter, visual poet, micro filmmaker and absurdist,” not to mention master of the succinct Twitter bio. Here’s the YouTube description:

“Woke Up Asleep” is a poetry video about awakening from the daily routines that seem to put us all in a fear-stricken daze. “The gutless” go on silently in order, but those who choose to step out of line are seen as mad.

knuckleshop by Cecelia Chapman and Jeff Crouch

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Just uploaded to Vimeo, this 2008 videopoem is from the long-time video-making partnership of artists Jeff Crouch and Cecelia Chapman:

Cecelia Chapman’s work explores the image in communication and revolves around environmental and cultural transformation.
For the past ten years Chapman has been collaborating with artist Jeff Crouch, with performer Christa Hunter, and with sound artists she meets online to produce short new media video.

The music here is by Crouch, as are the drawings. Rarely does one see an ekphrastic poetry video that succeeds as a separate artwork in its own right. Perhaps part of the key here is that Crouch’s sketches satisfy what I think of as the Konyvesian imperative: “In a successful videopoem, the work’s elements contain a collaborative property, an original incompleteness.” (Tom Konyves, In Retrospect: A Manifesto and its Underpinnings, p. 3.)

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