Mine by Vanessa Agovida and Sarah Davis

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Vanessa Agovida and Sarah Davis both appear in this dramatized version of spoken-word poem they wrote concerned with domestic abuse, “created by Shannon Morrall’s Crew at Fordham University in 2014 as part of Campus MovieFest, the world’s largest student film festival.” It was nominated for Best Drama and won Best Actress from the 100 entries to the festival. Here’s the full credit list from YouTube:

Vanessa Agovida – Actress/Writer
Joe Gallagher – Actor
Fenizia Maffucci – Cinematographer
Sarah Davis – Actress/Writer
Amanda Pell – Composer
Carolyn Chadwick – Actress
Shannon Morrall – Director

Congratulations to these immensely talented students for a well-made, gripping film about a topic for which we all too often employ the wrong words and metaphors (or none at all).

You as tunnel by Rose Hunter

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Another stunning Poetry Storehouse remix by Nic Sebastian, this time using a text by Rose Hunter. Nic posted some process notes to her blog:

‘You as tunnel’ a poem from The Poetry Storehouse by Rose Hunter, turned out to be the third remix of an accidental triptych I completed on abusive situations (the first was brother carried the poppies by Theresa Senato Edwards, and the second, Secrets by Ruth Foley.)

It took me more than one reading for this poem too to get at the narrative. After a poem on sexual abuse and one that referenced emotional abuse, I read this one as dealing with domestic violence. The language approach is clipped, condensed and stream-of-consciousness, but the overall impact for me was just as disturbing as the two previous ones.

For the remix, I returned to one of my favorite kinds of imagery – space imagery. I found a series of lovely clips of Jupiter and its moons at Video Blocks, and it didn’t take me long to put my own spin on the story. I re-imagined Jupiter as the brutish abuser around which all pivots, the victim as one of its moons caught in helpless orbit, and the second moon as their dark mutual secret, orbiting with them in silent complicity. With that as the ‘meta’ context, the mannequin clip represented the victim of violence at ground level for me – I saw the mannequin itself as representative of deadening of feeling needed for survival, the sunglasses as having connotations of hiding bruising and of obscuring vision, the headphones as attempt to escape into a different (aural) reality, and the broader head-shaking trajectory of the clip reflecting denial.

The soundtrack was easily picked here – something big and space-y yet with some sense of emotional alarm and general tension, which I found via Eric Hopton at Freesound.

Do read the rest. And if you’re a filmmaker or video remixer, don’t forget to visit The Poetry Storehouse whenever you’re looking for ideas for new projects. There are still many terrific poems there without video accompaniment, most with an audio version (sometimes two audio versions).

Instructions to Hearing Persons Desiring a Deaf Man by Raymond Luczak

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A fascinating visual conversation between two videos. I always enjoy Raymond Luczak’s American Sign Language performance videos, but the call-and-response here was an extra treat. In the first video, “Luczak performs one of the more famous poems from his book MUTE. This clip was the basis for Brooke Griffin’s animated short film INSTRUCTIONS TO HEARING PERSONS”:

(Also available on Vimeo)

When Brooke Griffin, an animator, asked to adapt my poem [...] into a short film, I was surprised and flattered but consented. I performed the poem in ASL and gave her the original footage. I had no idea what she’d do with it, but eight months later, here it is! [...]

To learn more about Brooke Griffin’s work, please check out her web site: http://www.brooke.io/

And check out Luczak’s website as well. Mute was published by A Midsummer Night’s Press.

Flower Moon by Erica Goss

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Part 5 in the 12 Moons videopoem series from Atticus Review, and the first I think I’ve managed to post on the full moon. Credits are as usual: text by Erica Goss, recitation by Nic Sebastian, music by Kathy McTavish, and concept, music and direction by Marc Neys (Swoon). I thought I recognized some of the footage in this one, and a visit to Marc’s blog confirms it: I was present when he did the filming last August, during the first Filmpoem Festival in Dunbar, Scotland. Here’s what he says:

“Flower Moon,” where Erica Goss explores the privilege and burden of her name and all of its meanings.
A name afraid of loss.
A name the color of soil.
A name that sounds like
three small cars colliding.

These lines steered me in the direction of the footage used in this video.

I started to work with certain parts of that footage (shot last summer in Dunbar).
Once I had a basic montage, I awaited Nic’s reading to work on a soundscape with musical blocks provided by Kathy.

I said it before and I will say it again. Cooking’s fun and easy when you have great ingredients.

First Draft by Amy Wang

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An imaginative blend of graffiti-painting and performance poetry by Duke University student Chrislyn Choo, whose description at Vimeo reads:

Spoken word poem penned and performed by Amy Wang. Thank you for partnering with me to produce this final project for my film class, Amy!

Spell Against Impermanence by Kim Addonizio

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Cheryl Gross’ inimitable animations accompany Kim Addonizio’s reading.

被移動的嗎?/ Was Being Moved? by Ye Mimi

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This author-made videopoem by the Taiwanese poet and filmmaker Ye Mimi was recently featured at Cordite. Her comments there about her creative process are especially interesting:

I was first introduced to the term ‘poetry film’ at the Zebra Poetry Film Festival in Taipei. As a poet, I knew right away that was the kind of video work I would like to do. In 2007, I went to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago to study filmmaking and to continue experimenting with the relationship between poetry and film. To me, making a poetry film is like weaving. It doesn’t prevent me from being a poet. Instead, my poems grow with my films simultaneously. I always write something first before I go out to collect images, but everything is still unclear and improvised when I am shooting. During the editing stage, I like to collage the images. Afterwards, I always write something based on the images and then collage the images more. In other words, my images and text feed each other rather than feed on each other.

She goes on to talk about the specific ways this process played out here, and about the Taiwanese Daoist pilgrimage shownd in the film — do go read it. She concludes:

If someone asks me what my creative process looks like, I would say, ‘It’s like directing a group of electric jellyfish sneaking into a tilt tower to rub together. They could become a sunny day, a fever, a humming song, or a glass of Bloody Mary, which … I never know.’

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