On the Road to the Sea by Charlotte Mew

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A wonderful dance interpretation of a poem by the early modern British writer Charlotte Mew, voiced by Alice Barclay. Zenaida Yanowski, principal dancer at the Royal Ballet in London, performs with choreography and film direction by Will Tuckett. The film represents a collaboration between Tuckett and the poetry-performing ensemble LiveCanon.

With all the dance-centered poetry films I’ve posted here over the years, I can’t remember one taking such a balletic approach before. I hope this isn’t the last.

The Translation by Brendan Constantine

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Sarah Jensen directed this adaptation of a poem by Los Angeles-based poet Brendan Constantine (which I found via his website, following a link below his excellent new poem in Rattle, “Red Sugar Blue Smoke“). Here’s the description on Vimeo:

A Hello, Margeaux Production
Written and Read by Brendan Constantine
Write Bloody Publishing
Music by Carina Pearson
Featuring Laura Whitfield and Philip Hood
Concept and Direction by Sarah Jensen
Video and Edit by Amy Hobbs

Orakel van een gevonden schoen / Oracle of a Found Shoe by Mustafa Stitou

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A new poetry film by Ukrainian director and animator Angie (Anzhela) Bogachenko featuring a poem and recitation by the Moroccan Dutch poet Mustafa Stitou, with the English translation by David Colmer in subtitles. The soundtrack includes music by Oskar Schuster.

Poema Cas’leluia & Final Brega (take dezessete) / Poem with Flying Termites & Cheesy Ending (take seventeen) by bagadefente

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An at-times quite literal but nevertheless thoroughly entertaining videopoem from bagadefente, “a brazilian self-taught multimedia artist, who creates works in several languages & media, specially video, writing & prints, using Chance and Chaos as its main creative tools.” I liked the use of text-on-screen, and the soundtrack by Dael Vasques was another favorite element (I’m a sucker for banjo music), but mostly I just liked the quirky, improvisational feel. And I see I’m not alone: According to the Vimeo description, it was screened in most of the major poetry-film festivals last year.

Can’t Sleep by Lucy English

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Kind of a horror-movie vibe to this filmpoem by James W. Norton, who writes on Vimeo,

This film is an artistic response to the wonderfully sublime and uncanny poem ‘Can’t Sleep’ written and read by Lucy English for her project ‘The Book of Hours‘. [links added]

Phenomenal Woman by Maya Angelou

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A narrative-style poetry film directed by Elizabeth Masucci and starring Danielle Brooks from Orange Is the New Black. Alfredo Alcántara is the cinematographer, Eric Spang edited, and Andrew Freedman wrote the score. It’s the first of a projected five-film series of poetry shorts celebrating women than Masucci plans to direct. A crowd-funding campaign has raised nearly $15,000 to support the project so far. Masucci writes:

I’ve always been a sucker for a good poem. Call me nerdy or sentimental, but it’s the truth. I love beautiful language. Unfortunately, poetry isn’t considered “cool” or “popular” like it used to be. We can change that. Bill Murray said “poetry is the voice of the soul.” A good poem gets to the truth of humanity more than any other art form. This is why I’d like to use poetry in these short films instead of standard dialogue.

Women in the entertainment business have to take a back seat most of the time. And as an actress, I find that there aren’t as many interesting and dynamic roles for women as there are for men. There aren’t enough compelling and truthful female voices in entertainment. These are my reasons for making these poetry short films about the female experience through the voices of female poets.

Click through to read more about the series.

Bølgeslag / Waves: three poems by Tor Ulven

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This may be my favorite Kristian P./Gasspedal animated poetry film yet. It was just released from password protection on Vimeo a week ago after a three-year tour of film festivals. It premiered at the Norwegian publishing house Gyldendal in 2013 on what would have been Tor Ulven’s 60th birthday. Here’s the description from Vimeo (italics mine):

Everything disappears. Recordings of our voices will become archeological remains, and a spinning record yields fossil waves. Waves is based on three poems by Tor Ulven.

Tor Ulven (1953–1995):
Ulven made his debut as a poet in 1977, with the poetry collection Skyggen av urfuglen (Shadows of the Primordial Bird). Today, Ulven’s works enjoy an iconic status, and his poetry and prose have been translated into English, German, Spanish, Arabic, Hindi, Russian and other languages.

Words & voice by Tor Ulven
Design & animation by Kristian P.
Produced by Audun Lindholm & Harald Fougner

Based on three poems from Ulven’s poetry collection Forsvinningspunkt (Vanishing Point), Gyldendal Norsk Forlag, 1981.

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