Gloed / Glow by Bart Moeyaert

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A text by the Flemish poet Bart Moeyaert in a filmpoem by Dutch photographer and filmmaker Judith Dekker. Commissioned by the library of Genk, Belgium, it was screened at this year’s ZEBRA festival as part of their focus on Dutch and Flemish poetry films. Moeyart supplies the reading used in the soundtrack, and the English translation in titling (also included in the description at Vimeo) is by Astrid Alben.

What Leslie Meant to Say by Cindy St. Onge

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A brief, author-made videopoem by Cindy St. Onge, responding to a voicemail which she’s included at the beginning of the video. This is the the sort of simple, straight-forward video remix that, to my mind, any working poet these days should learn how to make as a matter of course, because sometimes a poem needs to be more than just words on a page. As St. Onge noted on Vimeo:

The video, not the poem, is my response to the much-too-chipper voicemail notifying me that my best friend’s ashes are ready to retrieve. The title gave me the idea for the video, so I changed the first person confessional poem to second person, and achieved a bit of satisfaction.

Wake Up by Tolu Agbelusi

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A poetry-film collaboration between London-based Nigerian poet Tolu Agbelusi and director HKB FiNN of JustJazz Visuals. Somehow the poem’s story of an interpersonal cycle of abuse seems appropriate to the political moment.

Check out a couple of additional films on the Video & Audio section of Agbelusi’s website.

What is Love? by Lucy English

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This latest addition to Lucy English’s Book of Hours poetry-film project was directed by Lori H. Ersolmaz, with English reading her poem in the soundtrack.

Off the Trail: poetry by Michael McClure and Gary Snyder

This film, a selection from the longer experimental documentary Headlands Lookout by Jacob Cartwright and Nick Jordan, was awarded the prize for Best Poetry Film at this year’s ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival “For a pre-apocalyptic journey [with] a perfect guide in a stitched uniform into a world that’s going to unravel itself.” Here’s how Jordan describes it on his website:

Walk the path, sit the rains, grind the ink, wet the brush, unroll the broad white space….Lead out and tip the moist, black line.

Gary Snyder’s invocation to the muse of a Chinese scroll painter sets the tone in a short film adapted from Cartwright and Jordan’s longer work, Headlands Lookout.

Filmed in former US military barracks, and in the long-abandoned homes and circular library of Gary Snyder and Zen philosopher Alan Watts, Off the Trail follows a central protagonist, a soldier from another era, as he performs a series of actions and rituals. The uniformed figure paints Chinese nature symbols, chants, meditates and wanders dreamlike through a rolling Californian landscape of fog-shrouded hills, coastal defences and dense woodland valleys. Scenes are accompanied by haiku and poetry readings from Michael McClure and Gary Snyder, and the disembodied voice of Alan Watts, ruminating upon the passage of time and our perception of the ‘wild’.

As someone who studied Japanese and Chinese literature at university, there were parts of this that made me wince — the inept brush calligraphy, for example, and occasionally simplistic or misleading characterizations of Daoist and Buddhist thought — but I do recognize the historical importance of mid-20th-century writers such as Watts and Snyder in bringing East Asian thinking to a Western audience, however colored by Orientalism their versions of it may have been. And there’s no denying the beautiful cinematography and intriguing almost-narrative here, not to mention the innate fascination of the ruins where it was shot.

Orbit by Arturo Cubacub

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A classic videopoem by Arturo Cubacub, this took First Prize in the 1987 Poetry Film Festival in San Francisco. Here’s the complete description from Vimeo:

Completed in 1986, “Orbit” is the seventh video of my “Unity Gain Series.”

Choreographed by Jan Heyn-Cubacub.
Danced by Jan Heyn-Cubacub, Denise McIntosh and Arturo Cubacub.
Direction, Poetry, Editing, Special Effects, Computer Animation and Music by Arturo Cubacub.

Description: Poetry, dance, computer animation and digital video effects are used to juxtapose constructive possibilities within our destructive tendencies. “The most important challenge of our time is to create on the same scale as we can destroy.” – Gene Youngblood, 2007.

“Orbit” has received the following awards:
First Prize, Festival International de Video Do Algarve/ 1988, Algarve, Portugal, November, 1988.
First Prize, The 12th Poetry Film Festival, San Francisco, December, 1987.
Honorable Mention, Performance/Stage Category, Dance on Camera Festival ‘87, New York, December, 1987.
Certificate of Merit, Suffolk County Film & Video Competition 1987, Suffolk County Motion Picture & TV Commission, New York, 1987.
Best Video Award, PSA-VMPD American International Video and Film Festival, August, 1987.
Best Experimental Film Award, PSA-VMPD American International Video and Film Festival, August, 1987.
VMPD Bronze Medal, PSA-VMPD American International Video and Film Festival, August, 1987.
Best of Fest Award, Art Category, 1987 Columbus Video Festival, Ohio, July, 1987.
Certificate of Merit, Festival of Illinois Film and Video Artists, May, 1987.
Second Place, Athens International Video Festival, March, 1987.
Certificate of Merit, The Chicago International Film Festival, October, 1986.
Regional Fellowship Award, The National Endowment for the Arts, March, 1984 (project funding).
Artists Grant Award, The Illinois Arts Council, Illinois, March, 1984 (project funding).

На заре – наимедленнейшая кровь / At dawn – quiet blood by Marina Tsvetaeva

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A poem by the great Marina Tsvetaeva in a film directed by Natalia Alfutova. Be sure to click the CC icon for the English translation by Tony Brinkey. Anastasia Somova (Anastasia Somique) and Artem Tkachenko are the actors, Valeria Ordinartseva co-wrote the script with Alfutova, and Mikael Hamzyan was the cameraman.

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