Over Toast by Debris Stevenson

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Like yesterday’s piece by Jade Anouka and last Wednesday’s piece by Max Wallis, this is a hybrid between a filmpoem and a performance poem in which the poet, Debris Stevenson, is also an actor (here joined by another actor, Lil Woods). Chris Keenan of Prime Objective directs.

A poetry film made in collaboration with poet Debris Stevenson for her piece ‘Over Toast’. Commissioned by Apples & Snakes for Architects of Our Republic. Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s ‘I have a dream speech’.

‘Over Toast takes us on a philosophical journey, where a mother and daughter travel to a safe place to discover the importance of asking a question.’

According to the Architects of Our Republic site, “Apples and Snakes is the leading organisation for performance poetry in England, with a national reputation for producing exciting and innovative participation and performance work in spoken word.”

Forget by Jade Anouka

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London-based actor and poet Jade Anouka in an understated performance of her work “Directed and edited by Sabrina Grant with assistance from Anneka Harry,” according to the note on YouTube.

The Ocean by Robert Krut

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A videopoem in support of the forthcoming collection This is the Ocean by Robert Krut. Nick Paonessa of lowercase productions directs.

This is one of five poetry book trailers included in Erica Goss’s latest column for Connotation Press.

When is a video poem more than a video poem? When it’s a book trailer. Authors promote their books with book trailers, short films meant to entice a buyer, just like a movie trailer is meant to advertise a movie. Movie trailers show a condensed version of the film, including cuts of the most exciting parts without giving away the plot, while book trailers tend to focus on the author’s credentials first and the story second, especially if the author is well-known. A video poem meant to promote a book of poems, literary fiction or non-fiction, however, is often a complete work of art, its connection to the book somewhat tangential.

About Krut’s video, Goss writes:

Robert Krut’s second collection, This is the Ocean, due out this month from Bona Fide Books, was preceded by videos of two poems from the book. “The Ocean” shows a coastal city all but abandoned in the early morning light. Robert Krut told me that he and filmmaker Nick Paonessa shot scenes at Venice Beach, California. “It’s a completely different world at dawn,” Robert said. “This sounds impossible, but you can drive from Burbank to Venice in about twenty minutes” – a trip that normally takes at least an hour. The video for “The Ocean” shows an alternate Southern California in an Edward Hopper-esque mood: a skateboarder has the whole park to himself, a empty lifeguard tower faces the sea as the sky turns pink, and the smooth wide beach is alone with its secrets as we hear the last lines of the poem: “There may be nothing for miles and miles, / but I have come from the bottom of the ocean, / and I am here to tell you about it.” The Pacific Ocean is the unreliable narrator in this video, elemental, beautiful and dangerous.

Be sure to check out her other selections. And for more videopoems that do double duty as book trailers, browse the book trailer category here. (It’s relatively new, so it doesn’t necessarily include all of the book trailers on the site.)

He Talked in His Sleep by Al Rempel

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A great use of Prelinger material — in this case, family movies from 1929 — by Canadian poet Al Rempel, working with his usual editing assistant Steph St Laurent.

L’éternité / Eternity by Arthur Rimbaud

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A silent filmpoem with trilingual titling by the German filmmaker Patrick Müller. The film was shot in Dinard, Brittany, according to the credits. The description at Vimeo says: “Salutary breaks and changes are the topic of Arthur Rimbaud’s (1854–1891) autobiographical nature poem which is confronted with equally emotionally charged images.” A page at lomography.de goes into a bit more technical detail: “Shot on a Lomokino camera on 35mm film stock and scanned frame by frame with a Nikon Coolscan scanner. Edited with Final Cut Pro X.”

Surprisingly, this is the very first Rimbaud piece at Moving Poems.

The Plow That Broke the Plains by Pare Lorentz

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Though produced as a documentary, The Plow That Broke the Plains may also be seen as an epic filmpoem. Consider: first-time filmmaker Pare Lorentz didn’t write the script until almost everything else was done — all the shooting, even Virgil Thomson’s magnificent score. Composer and filmmaker worked together to fit the film to the score, sometimes cutting one, sometimes the other, and Lorentz thought the music should be allowed to suggest separate and complementary story lines. And the script, when he finally wrote it, took the form of free verse — see for yourself. When the text of his second documentary, River, was published in book form, it was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in poetry.

Which is not to say that (in my opinion at least) the script of The Plow That Broke the Plains qualifies as great poetry on its own. Rather, the successful marriage of all three elements — text, soundtrack and film — creates a poetic whole greater than the sum of its parts, a filmpoem. The fascinating story behind the making of the film is adeptly recounted on this webpage from the University of Virginia’s American Studies program.

Because it was produced by the federal government, The Plow That Broke the Plains is in the public domain, and high-resolution versions may be downloaded from the Internet Archive for reuse and remix. It might be interesting to see what a contemporary videopoet could make with this material, whether by swapping in new text or cutting and splicing Lorentz’s. (If anyone does this, be sure to send me the link.)

Allow Yourself This One Day by Max Wallis

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This is Alastair Cook‘s Filmpoem 33, and departs rather significantly from his other filmpoems in its unstinting focus on the poet/narrator.

Commissioned by Harper’s Bazaar UK and poet/ model Max Wallis. Allow Yourself This One Day is the final poem in Max’s début pamphlet, Modern Love, where he traces the year-long course of a love affair and all its constituent parts: sex and sensuality, longing and loneliness, desire and disappointment, heady beginnings and inevitable endings; in a world dominated by high street brands, text messaging and social media.

Luca Nasciuti did both the photography and the music for this one.

According to Max Wallis’ website, “The Arts Council has funded Max’s new film project. He is currently Harper’s Bazaar’s ‘roaming poet’. He produces poetry videos which look at the world of modelling through a poetic lens.”