امر گيت / A Song Everlasting by Attiya Dawood

Poet: | Nationality: | Filmmaker:

All the flowers in my country have been picked
And gunpowder planted instead.
Fragrance breathes its last
In a torture camp.
The very lane where hand in hand with you
I have danced to the music of peace,
There a death-dealer is spread-eagled.

Ammar Aziz directed this poetry film featuring Pakistani poet, writer, and women’s rights activist Attiya Dawood, accompanied by dancer Suhaee Abro. Be sure to press the icon marked “CC” at the bottom of the video to view subtitles in English, Sindhi or Urdu, or click through to the Umang website to read the text in all three languages.

This World (Ten Świat) by Czeslaw Milosz

Poet: | Nationality: | Filmmaker:

A brilliant animated poem from Zbigniew Czapla, a Polish screenwriter, director, animator, painter and graphic artist. It was recently featured on Tin House Reels, accompanied by one of their usual engaging write-ups.

Zbigniew Czapla created this week’s Tin House Reels feature, This World—a short based on the poem of the same title by Czeslaw Milosz—at the invitation of the Fundacja Pogranicze, as part of a multimedia exhibition at the Museum of Czeslaw Milosz in Krasnogruda. Czapla calls his project “a catastrophic vision and poetic perspective on human life as a set of secrets, accidents, and misunderstandings.”

[...]

“Poetry is a difficult subject for animation,” Czapla said. “It should at all costs avoid banality, infantile associations, and overwrought pathos. The text and sound work together around themes, as in jazz improvisation. Topics connect, overlap, and move away from each other in a game of associations.”

“Animated experimental film is a way for me to combine my various fascinations. Painting, music, theater and literature are like pieces of a puzzle, which I try to organize in a new way. If the end result for me is mysterious and unknown, that it is worth doing. The expected effects do not interest me. A lot of the work ends up being unsuccessful, but that always comes with artistic risk.”

Read the rest.

White Fur by Mark Wunderlich

Poet: | Nationality: | Filmmaker:

Motionpoemslatest production was directed by Georgia Tribuiani, an adaptation of a poem by Mark Wunderlich. The Motionpoems website includes bonus materials for the video: interviews with the filmmaker and poet by Jeannie E. Roberts, who writes:

As I watched Georgia Tribuiani’s motionpoem, “White Fur,” I was instantly drawn into her world of light, color, and contrast. Tribuiani sets the scene beautifully and powerfully within Switzer Falls, a wooded area in the San Gabriel Mountains, Los Angeles County. The albino deer, depicted as an African-American albino man, runs barefoot through the woods, where he follows the banks of a stream, eventually stopping to look at his reflection within a pool of water. Tribuiani imagines a story that is, in her own words, suggested: She envisions the albino deer as Narcissus: a young man, mesmerized by his own reflection, who falls in love with it and eventually drowns. Though not necessarily the intent of Mark Wunderlich’s poem, Tribuiani creates a stunning metaphor, a poem within a poem. All great poetry has layers, and this director has found another layer with thought-provoking elegance and creativity.

Read the interviews.

Mostly about a color by Jenene Ravesloot

Poet: | Nationality: | Filmmaker:

This film by Jutta Pryor is especially interesting for what it does with the soundtrack, a psychedelic interweaving of the reading by Nic Sebastian and a track called “The Ritual and the Delusion Part 1,” by the musicians’ collective Masonik. The poem, by Chicago-based poet Jenene Ravesloot and first published in CC&D Magazine, is from the Poetry Storehouse, where Sebastian herself has also posted her own, quite different video for the same text.

The Celebration by Ghayath Almadhoun and Marie Silkeberg

This is of the best poems about war I’ve ever read (or heard). It’s by the Syrian-born Palestinian poet Ghayath Almadhoun, from التفاصيل (The Details), translated by Catherine Cobhamin, in a film adaptation that he made in collaboration with the Swedish poet Marie Silkeberg—a partnership described in a recent interview in Arabic Literature (in English). The English titling floats and disappears above a bombed-out city: Berlin. As Almadhoun describes it in the interview,

The material you saw, this is Berlin, and nobody saw it before. Not even the Germans. I have thirteen minutes from July 1945, forty-five days after the war, somebody filmed it.

Yes, National Geographic maybe they bought five seconds, and I think in the BBC documentary they bought around seven seconds, because it’s so expensive. Nobody knows how I got it, and I think if they saw it, they will take me to court. Because the owner of this material is one of the biggest companies in Hollywood. But still, I want the people to see this. No one has seen Berlin like this.

I use eight minutes of it in this film.

AL: And the poem?

GM: The poem is written about Damascus. But it has in the beginning something about Berlin. And I feel that there is no difference between destruction and destruction. Yes, the story of Berlin is different — they attacked the world, the world attacked them.

What’s happening in Syria is different. The destruction in Syria is more. If you look at the suburbs of Damascus, you will find that most of the buildings have fallen down. While in Berlin it was only the roofs. So I can compare the situation in Syria for example with Hiroshima or Dresden, only.

Do read the rest of the interview, which was especially interesting to me for its defense of poet-made films, as opposed to some of the very slick animations that are appearing online and at poetry film festivals these days:

Why should I only write my poem and wait until a professional can make a video? He always chooses classic and simple things because he’s not a poet.

I want the poets to make poetry films, and I and I want the focus to be on the poem. If the focus is on the film, then go to the short film.

The quality of the poem should be added to the question. The animations are really beautiful, and some of them are really expensive. I remember one of the films cost maybe one million dollars. They got a prize. For me, if I was on the jury, I would not give them a prize. Because the poem was really bad.

Almadhoun gets to say this, in my opinion, because he is both a masterful poet and a good filmmaker. I’m also grateful to him for making his YouTube channel public and the videos shareable. You can expect to see his other collaborations with Silkeberg here soon.

Love Song (Canción de Amor) by L.L. Barkat

Poet: | Nationality: | Filmmaker:

Spanish filmmaker Eduardo Yagüe has made two different films, one for the English-language original and one for the Spanish version of this poem, including an additional actor in the latter film. The poem and reading by Nic Sebastian are from the Poetry Storehouse, and Luis Yagüe supplied the Spanish translation. The author, L.L. Barkat, is among other things Managing Editor at Tweetspeak Poetry, which features poetry videos on a regular basis.

Stimuli by Helen Vitoria

Poet: | Nationality: | Filmmaker:

A poem by Helen Vitoria at the Poetry Storehouse gets the Swoon treatment. Marc Neys writes,

As long as The Poetry Storehouse  stock keeps growing with more and interesting poems and writers, I’ll keep coming back.
For this work I picked out a poem by Helen Vitoria. I worked with Helen before a few years back and I love her choice of words. Pure and rich.

[...]

Those who have been watching my last series of videos know that I’m a fan of the ‘home movies’ that are collected
at IICADOM. It’s such a rich and beautiful collection. To be able to take a peek in all those lives… Create your own stories… I truly enjoy that.
For this poem I wanted footage from a wedding.
Young people in love on the beginning of their journey.
A lot of wedding footage on IICADOM, but this stood out (for me) Beautiful B/W, brutal cuts. Faces full of joy and hope.

I thought these images would make a great pairing with Helen’s poem.

1...910111213...188