A lot of student work shows up on Vimeo this time of year, and I’m guessing that’s what this is, though you wouldn’t necessarily be able to tell from the quality, which is very high indeed. Marge Piercy’s biting poem is dished out one line at a time in this videopoem by Leah Witton, who notes:
This is my final cut of the words in motion piece. The piece is based on the poem Barbie Doll by Marge Piercy and the style was inspired from Vito Acconci.
As the founding father of videopoetry, Tom Konyves is often asked to present at conferences and symposiums, but the ReVersed Poetry Film Festival in Amsterdam last month was the first to ask him to do so with reference to his own life and works. The film that he and Alex Konyves put together in response blends theory with reminiscences of some fascinating moments in avant-garde history, and includes a number of excerpts from Tom’s videopoems, some not otherwise available on the web — which is why I decided to share this here on the main site. Tom also provided the text of his talk at my request, which we’ve posted over at the forum (with added links to the full-length versions of a few of the referenced videopoems).
My favorite part is the bit about the role of chance, illustrated by a videopoem composed using the I Ching. Echoing Louis Pasteur (“Chance favors only the prepared mind”), Konyves says:
One has to be open and prepared for chance events to occur. On a perfect summer day, I decided to bring my equipment to nearby St. Helen’s Island. I found a spot to set up and began searching for an image that in retrospect I would call having a collaborative property, or at least collaborative potential. After about an hour of shooting windsurfers, I found three sailboats floating on the water. It was like a picture postcard. Suddenly I realized that behind the sailboats and a land mass there was a large ship moving across the screen.
“Collaborative potential”: yes. The world can be like that sometimes.
Anyway, the talk is full of such stories and insights. Enjoy.
Sergei Yesenin‘s poem stunningly translated into film by director Alexander Fedorov (who also contributed the voiceover, soundtrack, and some of the animation), with additional animation by Nikolay Vologdin and videography by Mikhail Kazantsev and Artur Zaynullin. There’s also a version without the English subtitles.
Bill Yarrow’s poem “Bees in the Eaves” has had many lives. It originally appeared in Mad Hatters’ Review along with audio of the author’s reading, was reprinted in his collection Pointed Sentences (BlazeVOX 2012), and was reprinted again at The Poetry Storehouse, where it garnered a reading by Nic Sebastian and this video remix by Marc Neys, A.K.A. Swoon. Coming back full-circle to the mad hatters, perhaps, the video uses footage from the 1940 documentary Symptoms Of Schizophrenia, via the Prelinger Archives. Marc notes:
There was a track ‘Tsukuru Swims‘ I had just finished that was right for Nic Sebastian’s reading of the poem.
It took a bit of re-editing but the combination worked beautifully [...]
I took out the footage I thought was disturbing and confronting and edited it to the rhythm and the noises in the soundtrack. I layered the result with moving lights, shot from a train, to give it an extra edge and some depth.
Bill Yarrow spoke of his experience with Poetry Storehouse remixes in an interview at the Moving Poems forum back in March (prior to the release of this video).
I could watch this again and again. Nic Sebastian makes great use of artwork by Michael Vincent Manalo in this kinestatic video remix of a poem from The Poetry Storehouse by Shannon Elizabeth Hardwick.
John Ashbery reads his poem (from Some Trees, 1956) in this film by Kurtis Hough with original music composed by Christopher Tignor, from the album Thunder Lay Down in the Heart. The Vimeo description quotes Tignor:
The poem “A Boy” rang out to me while I was writing “Thunder Lay Down in the Heart”. Titles usually come in response to the music and I often find myself looking through books of poetry to turn my mind on in that way. I studied poetry myself with John Ashbery many years ago while a student Bard College – indeed he was my advisor. I really responded to the inner psychic conflict of the protagonist against the visceral narrative tension of the storm – the sound, like thunder, of falling “from shelf to shelf of someone’s rage”, the rain at night against the box cars, the inevitable flood.
But to say I’ve completely understood the poem – on whatever terms – is to short change its mystery. I find something new in this poem every time I read it. It’s precisely that kind of altruistic unfolding that I hoped to embody in my musical work with its own flooded lines, dry fields of lightning, and cabbage roses. One reviewer recently described the work as its own “vast electrical disturbance”. Hard to disagree.
For more information on the album, see the Western Vinyl catalog description.
The story of Thunder Lay Down in the Heart begins with the poem “A Boy” written in 1956 by John Ashbery, well before he became the world renown, Pulitzer Prize winning poet we know him as today. In a rare collaboration, Tignor recorded Ashbery reading the work in his Chelsea apartment, surrounding it with his own original musical setting for strings that opens the record. A line from this poem became the title of Tignor’s twenty-minute work for string orchestra, electronics, and drums, featuring eminent Boston-based ensemble A Far Cry. The album’s B side continues the process of reinterpretation as Tignor electronically reimagines and remixes the title piece into “The Listening Machines” and “To Draw a Perfect Circle”, creating spellbinding ambient adventures derived directly from the tapes of this ensemble’s gut-wrenching virtuoso performance. Ending as we began with collaboration, the record’s final remix, “First, Impressions”, was created with composer / pianist Rachel Grimes (of Rachel’s).
This is Confessions of a Lacking Pursuit,
Directed, choreographed & edited by Maggie Bailey. Filmed by Paul Nguyen. Performed by Heather Bybee. Sylvia Plath’s recitation of her poem “The Applicant.” Music by Shane Carruth.
Maggie Bailey is majoring in Theatre/Theatre Arts Management and Dance, concentrating in Performance and Choreography, at College of Charleston, according to LinkedIn. Confessions of a Lacking Pursuit was her senior project.