Nationality: United States

Peace-Prayer by Laura M Kaminski

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Just in time for Christmas, an international collaboration between American poet Laura M Kaminski and Australian filmmaker Marie Craven, who shared it on Facebook:

Sending wishes for a peaceful time this season, to friends and family, near and far. Here is a video just completed. Poem by Laura M Kaminski. Music by Benjamin Dauer & Specta Ciera. My video concept and editing.

Cynic that I am, I found the video unexpectedly moving, so I guess it’s fitting that it be Moving Poems’ holiday selection this year. I join Marie and Laura in sending everyone wishes for peace, now and in the New Year.

Our Lady Time by Meghan McDonald

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This author-made videopoem is the latest addition to Meghan McDonald’s playlist of poetry videos, where meditations on time have been a reoccurring theme.

I was trying to think of a concise way to characterize McDonald when I clicked on her website and saw the tagline: Sound experimenter, filmmaker and visual poet. That sounds about right. Here’s her bio.

The Impotence of Proofreading by Taylor Mali

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How about some lighter fare to help relieve that pre-holiday stress? This is Missed Aches by director Joanna Priestley, based on a poem by Taylor Mali. It took First Prize at the Black Maria Film Festival, which called it “an uproarious animation by one of the nation’s iconic animation artists” and “a cascade of malapropisms.” Here are the full credits from the YouTube description:

Sound Design by Normand Roger and Pierre Yves Drapeau. Music by Pierre Yves Drapeau with Denis Chartrand and Normand Roger. Text Animation by Brian Kinkley. Character design and animation by Don Flores. Storyboards by Dan Schaeffer. Directed, produced and animated by Joanna Priestley. Supported by The Regional Arts and Culture Council and the Caldera Institute.

Living Image by Susie Welsh

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A mixed-media work by Los Angeles-based writer and artist Susie Welsh, which came to my attention when it was featured at the Atticus Review back in November. Welsh had written:

The Living Image project began as a call-and-response between my writing and the paintings of visual artist, Bill Atwood. These static elements were then brought to life on camera through my collaborations with video artists, Billy Hunt and Brian Wimer, as well as musician, Deke Shipp.

The video is in six numbered parts: “The Source,” “Inverted,” “In Echo,” “Out of Blindness,” “The Witness” and “The Sphinx.” The poet’s face forms part of the screen/surface onto which images are projected, which is always an interesting effect but works especially well here, drawing attention to the hermetic and spell-like quality of the text — a text which, to be honest, I probably wouldn’t like very much on its own, laden as it is with modifiers and abstractions. But it works well in a videopoem that’s truly greater than the sum of its parts. The Vimeo description reads:

Living Image is a poetry film exploring the frustration and alienation inherent in the assumption of selfhood, as well as the possibility of extricating the power of consciousness from our self-conscious preoccupation.

Click through to Atticus Review to read a fuller artist’s statement, which delves into ancient Egyptian cosmology, as well as a bio of Welsh. And while you’re there, check out the guidelines for submission — mixed media editor Matt Mullins is always looking for new material.

“Aurora is the effort” by Emily Dickinson

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A brand new videopoem by writer (and former film major) James Brush demonstrating one way to make an effective video with a very short, enigmatic text, marrying Dickinson’s cosmic lines with some footage that is literally out of this world. James put up a blog post about it, which I’ll take the liberty of quoting in full:

This is a video I made for Emily Dickinson’s “Aurora is the effort.” I stumbled on the Jupiter aurora footage at ESA/Hubble and wanted to do something with it. I had Dickinson on my mind since we share a birthday, and I often find myself turning to her work around this time of year, so I started searching for aurora-related Dickinson poems and liked this one for its simplicity and unusual syntax and wording. The sounds are radio static and me rubbing the strings and hitting the back of a bass guitar with some effects from garage band.

I’ve been wanting to do a Dickinson poem for years and even have a concept for another one that maybe someday will get done. Thanks for watching.

For an interesting perspective on what Dickinson might’ve been up to in this poem, see Jed Deppman’s Trying to Think With Emily Dickinson (University of Massachusetts Press, 2008), p. 129 ff. (via Google Books). Deppman finds that “Aurora is the effort”

features the kind of deconstructive paradox that both defines and destabilizes many of Dickinson’s definition poems: the category of “the natural” transforms into the others that philosophers have always used to define it by opposition: the “social,” “cultural” and “artificial.” The specific terms the speaker uses to transform cosmology into cosmetics and make heaven’s two-facedness the basis of a definition under erasure derive in part from the idea—circulating in Amherst thanks to Transcendentalism, Ruskin, Hitchcock, and the Hudson River school—that nature mirros God’s consciousness, that, as Barton Levi St. Armand puts it, “the sensuous veil of nature is but a protective covering over the naked creative spirit of the universe.”

It’s worth reading the analysis in full to realize just how much meaning Dickinson could pack into her gnomic verses.

heyday by Shin Yu Pai

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A silent text animation by Michael Barakat, who worked closely with the poet, Shin Yu Pai. Shin Yu told me in an email last Sunday,

I created this piece with designer Michael Barakat for a civic festival for the City of Redmond, WA, where I am wrapping up a 2-year term as the city’s fourth poet laureate. We projected the piece on the side of City Hall at its annual Redmond Lights Festival which took place this past weekend.

Via Shin Yu’s blog, here’s a video (shot by Scott Keva James) showing what that looked like:

Blue Black Wet of Wood by Carmen Gillespie

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A film by Sundance Award-winning director Malik Vitthal for Motionpoems, based on the title poem from Carmen Gillespie‘s 2106 collection from Two Silvias Press. An adept juxtaposition of filmpoem lyricism with the kind of storytelling familiar to movie-goers conveys a powerful sense of the experience of loss within the African American community and beyond.

Motionpoems have also released a video interview with Gillespie, filmed and edited by Ramble Pictures, about the origin of the poem and the film:

Eric Doise, who conducted the interview, also put together a lesson plan for poetry teachers [PDF] based on the film and interview — the sort of thing I hope to see a lot more of in the coming years, both from Motionpoems and from other poetry-film makers as well.

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