A Noiseless Patient Spider by Walt Whitman

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This is one of the best student poetry films I’ve seen. Ayesha Raees is from Lahore, Pakistan, a literature student at Bennington College in Vermont who is writing her thesis on videopoetry. She told me she’s been working on this piece for the past eight months, and it shows. The spot-on music is by Sarah Rasines.

Raees’ decision to use just the second stanza of Whitman’s poem gives the text, I think, that quality of incompleteness that Tom Konyves maintains is intrinsic to each element in a true videopoem. (Read the complete poem at the Poetry Foundation website.) Another filmmaker’s take on the poem was recently deleted from Vimeo, so I’m pleased that such a fine new interpretation has appeared to take its place in the Moving Poems archive.

Morbleu by Karen McCarthy Woolf

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Dancer and choreographer Ella Mesma collaborated with poet Karen McCarthy Woolf for this dance-poetry film. Fiona Melville shot and directed the film and Andrea Allegra wrote the music. Nathalie Teitler was the producer and creative director for Dancing Words, “a project designed to explore what happens when you bring together the art forms of dance and poetry” (something I’ve been interested in here at Moving Poems for quite some time). The project website includes interviews with Woolf and Mesma about the making of the film. Here are three snippets from Woolf:

I’ve experimented with poetry film before, working with Morbleu director Fiona Melville, but I’d not thought about dance and choreography. What’s amazing to me is how suited it is to lyric poetry – the dancer’s movement is a visual shadow of the white space, the silence and the emotional arc of the poem. […]

For me a film or a collaboration is a way for a poem to take shape in a more three-dimensional format than the page offers – although of course the reader’s imagination is capable of projecting anything onto the screen of the mind! In this sense I see poetry film as an extension of form…

The film is not illustrative of the poem, it’s a new interpretation and that’s exciting. A new collaborative authorship has come to into existence. That to me is the transformative quality of art. Seeing a dancer interpret the words and movement of the piece that in turn responds to the text and soundtrack. Fiona also trained as a painter/fine artist, and I think that she brings that aesthetic to the work. Everyone has a level of expertise to bring to the table. In a sense a collaboration is also a visual ‘reading’ of a poem — you get to experience an audience’s understanding of the work and help shape a communal reinterpretation.

Do read the rest.

Bone Thinning by Beth McKinney

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Xiaomiao Wang, a doctoral student at the School of Art at Texas Tech University, worked with poet Beth McKinney to make this film as part of an exemplary, interdisciplinary poetry-film initiative, JOINT: A Poetry/Video Collaboration.

In the fall of 2015, poet John Poch and video artist Alex Henery collaborated to make the video poem Sonnet on Time. This collaboration is one of the several catalysts that led to the JOINT collaboration at Texas Tech University.

Throughout the spring semester of 2016, JOINT: A Poetry/Video Collaboration engaged Texas Tech University (TTU) students of Professors John Poch and Jiawei Gong in creating collaborative works of poetry and video/film throughout the spring semester of 2016. The student pairs met individually to craft a collaborative vision and product, working collectively to study and critique the production of work by collaborating faculty, artists and students. We hope you enjoy our work.

The completed projects were screened on May 3rd at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema to a packed house. Dr. Wyatt Phillips, assistant professor of Film & Media in the Department of English, served as juror of the videos. Having viewed all the work prior to the screening, the Juror’s award winners were announced before all the videos were screened. The Audience Choice Award, collected on ballots after the screenings, was announced the following day.

And Bone Thinning was the film the audience chose. View all the films on the TTU website or the JOINT channel on Vimeo. There’s also more information about the project and the visiting artists (who included the poet Todd Boss, director of Motionpoems).

Qué es el amor? / What is Love? by Lucy English

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Eduardo Yagüe translated Lucy English’s poem into Spanish as well as into film here, and the result is, I think, an excellent fit for her Book of Hours project, casting the text into the imaginative space of temps perdu. The geographic/linguistic distance and change in the expected sex of the narrator create additional resonances. And actor Steffan Carlson’s silence is so eloquent as to supply almost a third voice to the mix. Qué es el amor? is a brilliant demonstration of how to use the narrative style of filmmaking to comment upon and transform a lyric poem.

Karima álom / Brim dream by Zsolt Miklya

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A charming animation directed by Csaba Gellár of a poem for children by Hungarian author Zsolt Miklya. Attila Bárdos was the animator. This is one of a series of animated children’s poems produced by József Fülöp as a part of a project from MOME Animation, “one of the defining creative workshops and intellectual centres of Hungarian animation.” They all (?) popped up on the MOME Anim Vimeo site five days ago (though Gellár had shared the above version of his film 11 months earlier).

identity: other by Anna Banout

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I found the combination of found text montage and video footage shot by children simply irresistible in this author-made videopoem by Anna Banout, who says on Vimeo:

Identity. Otherness. Intolerance. Prejudice. Freedom. Integrity. As a half-Syrian girl growing up in Poland, these issues have accompanied me my whole life – I was other before I even knew the true meaning of this word. In this film I’ve combined footage from my childhood – multicultural safe place; a place where otherness didn’t really exist – with a monologue on the theme of identity. The videos were mostly taken by children – me, my sister and cousins – and I’ve decided to choose them as they captured the fragility of seemingly unimportant moments that only a child could capture. The monologue is a fake poem – it was assembled by me from variety of speeches given by poets, writers, actors, artists, activists and other inspirational people whose words I found refreshing in the identity-themed discussion.
Who do I identify myself as? Other.

‘n Gewone blou Maandagoggend (An Ordinary Blue Monday) by Ronelda Kamfer

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Naomi van Niekerk‘s animation of a poem by Ronelda Kamfer. Like the Grand Prize winner What about the law, this was on the shortlist for the 2016 Weimar Poetry Film Awards. Both films were produced as part of a series of animated poetry shorts in Afrikaans called Filmverse, headed up by Diek Grobler under the aegis of the ATKV (Afrikaans Language and Culture Association). Here’s how Google Translate renders the website’s description of the project:

Classical poetry and the work of contemporary poets are used to create a “visual anthology” in which a dialogue is created between word and image. Each animation film is accompanied by its own soundtrack in which the poem is read among others. The end product is a DVD of about 30 minutes with the twelve animation films on which are displayed as a separate production. The DVD playback is accompanied by an exhibition of posters of each of the twelve animation films.