New Year’s Eve by Thomas Hardy

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With all the videopoems that have been made with her readings or for her poems, it was probably inevitable that sooner or later Nic Sebastian would have to try making one of her own. This is her maiden effort — and the first Hardy poem in the Moving Poems archive. She used some wonderfully creepy footage of cockroaches from the Prelinger Archives. She her blog post for more about her process.

“Hope is the thing with feathers” by Emily Dickinson

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Moving Poems’ latest in-house production attempts to put Emily Dickinson’s famous poem in its historical context. I used clips from a public-domain educational film, “Civil War,” by Encyclopaedia Brittanica Films, 1954, from the Prelinger Archives, and found an excellent recording of a wood thrush at the equally invaluable freesound.org. But the most essential ingredient here, I think, was the reading by Nic Sebastian. As Julie Martin put it in a comment on my blog post introducing the video,

Nic’s reading is masterful. Dickinson is so condensed and elliptical that her work seems impossible to read aloud, much like the unplayable late string quartets of Beethoven. But Nic invests each word with a different weight; she doesn’t play with expectations, but transcends them.

Two poems (personality fragmented and notes from a taxi cab at 2 a.m.) by u.v. ray

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U.K. photographer and musician gordon eightball made this wonderfully atmospheric film, with words and voice supplied by u.v. ray, whose website says he has been “a stalwart of the underground literary scene for 20 years.”

Three poems (Flute Boy, Marriage of Opposites and Half-caste) by John Agard

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John Agard is joined on stage by the flautist Keith Waithe, a fellow Guyanan, in an extract from a film by Pamela Robertson-Pearce called John Agard Live!, which was included as a DVD along with Agard’s 2009 collection Alternative Anthem, from Bloodaxe Books. (There’s also video of Agard reading the title poem.)

This Was Supposed to Be About Karl, But It Didn’t End Up That Way, by Sherry O’Keefe

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A film called “Nightvision” by Swoon Bildos, which he blogged about (in Dutch) here. Fortunately for us English speakers, though — and for everyone who’s been following Swoon’s work — the poet, Sherry O’Keefe, blogged a conversation with him about the process of making this video, how he got into videopoetry and more.

The poem originally appeared in PANK, and was recorded by Nic Sebastian for Whale Sound. The video includes some camera work by Kristoffer Jansson and Keith Marcel.

Highway Coda by Matt Mullins

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This piece began life as “a multi-faceted, collaborative project consisting of a prose poem, an experimental film, a musical composition, and an interactive interface” — see the lit-digital site for more. Matt Mullins specializes in what he calls script poems, and this semester will be teaching a creative writing course on “Book Trailers and Visual Adaptations of Literature” at Ball State University.

Happiness by Jorge Luis Borges

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Today’s Google Doodle commemorates the birth of Borges:

“Wishing Jorge Luis Borges a happy 112th birthday!” Google tweeted early this morning, adding a well-known Borges quote: “I have always imagined that paradise will be a kind of library.”

I shudder to think what this arch-conservative and biobliophile would’ve said about videopoetry, let alone digital texts. But thanks to a Facebook contact, I saw this video and thought it worth sharing. It appears to be a quite illegal upload (and re-branding) of a snippet from the documentary Art, Poetry and Particle Physics, narrated by John Berger and directed by Ken McMullen. However, the uploaders do at least acknowledge the theft, and also reproduce the text of the translation by Stephen Kessler used in the documentary. [The YouTube user account was terminated for copyright violations. I swapped in a DailyMotion version on 15 August 2014.] And it’s a very effective selection, I thought — it works well on its own as a videopoem, even with the apparent non sequitur by Berger at the end about Borges’ lack of interest in 20th-century science.