And God… by Eric Blanchard

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Australian filmmaker Marie Craven demonstrates one way to get away with out-right illustration in a videopoem. Had she used footage of pinball games in a poem that references pinball, it would’ve seemed merely redundant, I think. But instead she hit upon the idea of using colorful still images (by Donald Bell) alternating with dark, silent-film-like title cards bearing the lines of the poem. Cut these images in time with up-tempo, pinball-esque music by CIRC, and rather than simply depicting a game of pinball, the video actually enacts or reproduces the effect of a highly kinetic ball careening around in an inert cabinet. “The whole thing / goes tilt.” And the poem is raised to a new level, I think.

The text by Eric Blanchard, first published in Pudding Magazine, was sourced from The Poetry Storehouse.

Mule & Pear: two videopoems by Rachel Eliza Griffiths

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Rachel Eliza Griffiths has made poetry book trailer-style videopoems for a couple of other poets, but this one from 2011 was for her own collection, and Roxane Gay, writing at HTML Giant, was impressed:

Mule & Pear is a new book of poetry by Rachel Eliza Griffiths and has a book trailer I really love which is saying something because I do not care for book trailers.

This Dust Road: Self Portrait is an excerpt from the final poem in Mule & Pear. According to the publisher’s description,

These poems speak to us with voices borrowed from the pages of novels of Alice Walker, Jean Toomer, and Toni Morrison—voices that still have more to say, things to discuss. Each struggles beneath a yoke of dreaming, loving, and suffering. These characters converse not just with the reader but also with each other, talking amongst themselves, offering up their secrets and hard-won words of wisdom, an everlasting conversation through which these poems voice a shared human experience.

Three haiku by Angie Werren

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These are three, seven and twelve from Angie Werren‘s “twenty seconds of haiku” series, a deliberately low-tech approach to videohaiku that’s brilliant when it works. One big advantage Werren has over most other filmmakers, amateur or professional, who attempt videohaiku: she understands what English-language haiku — and micropoetry in general — is all about. Spend some time at her blog Feathers and you’ll see what I mean.

Watch all 13 videos in the “twenty seconds” series on Vimeo. Six also appeared in the new online literary journal Gnarled Oak (which is very videopoetry-friendly, by the way).

Zman / Time by Mei-Tal Nadler

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A new poetry film by Avi Dabach with text by Mei-Tal Nadler and music by Harold Robin. Einat Weizman read the poem and Adriana X. Jacobs provided the English translation used in the subtitles.

Nadler won the 2014 Teva Prize for Poetry, whence this bio:

May-Tal Nadler is a poet and doctoral student of literature and Israeli culture at Tel Aviv University. Her first book of poetry, Experiments in Electricity, was published this year.
Nadler has previously won the Ministry of Culture’s award for poets for 2008 and was among the prize winners of the 2008 Poetry Along the Way competition, sponsored by the city of Tel Aviv. Her manuscript won the Leib Goldberg award for literary work.

Liberté by Maciej Piatek

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A concrete videopoem by the UK-based Polish video artist Maciej Piatek that alludes to a text by Paul Eluard and an historic, public use of that text, as the write-up on Vimeo explains:

The film was screened at Liberté during the ArtsBridge Festival 2014. Liberté was a multi-discipline performance featuring collaborations in poetry, music, film, dance, prose, performance and visual arts, that used Paul Éluard’s “Liberté” poem as a starting point. The poem was famously dropped from aeroplanes during WWII by the British Air force over occupied France.

2014 was a year of the centenary of the start of WWI and the 75th Anniversary of the start of WWII, and in an age where we see almost perpetual war, we are told that it is all necessary “for our freedom”. The performance attempted to analyse what liberty/freedom meant to each contributor.

Featured work by Lianne Brown, Gillie Carpenter, Isolde Davey, Holly Hero, Gaia Holmes, Tallulah Holmes, Cliff James, Alice Mill, Paul Mill, Steve Nash, Maciej Piatek, Winston Plowes

ArtsBridge Festival 2014 at Christchurch, Sowerby Bridge, UK

Ambien by Sarah Sloat

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Slumber has always smelled of vanilla,
yeast and semolina.
Doped up to doze,

the flesh augments; hunger
outsizes the sun
into a spectacle darkness might swallow.

Nic Sebastian‘s inspired remix of a poem by Sarah Sloat at The Poetry Storehouse with some gorgeous stock footage and music by David Mackey. I loved this when I first saw it two months ago, but somehow it never made it into the posting queue, which is especially surprising considering that Sloat is one of my favorite contemporary poets.

Simple Brushstrokes on a Naked Canvas by Howie Good

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This is Five Miles (Simple Brushstrokes on a Naked Canvas) by Swoon (Marc Neys), made with the text of a poem from Fugitive Pieces, Howie Good’s new collection of poems. Here’s what Marc blogged about it:

So. A New year. New sounds. New videos. A big new project (more on that one later)
A solo exhibition  (more on that one later) and
New collaborations.

My first video of the year is Five Miles (Simple Brushstrokes on a Naked Canvas)
I first got the idea for this when reading ‘Fugitive Pieces’ by Howie Good.
It’s a great book of found poems published by Right Hand Pointing Press.
All proceeds from the book go to the Food Bank of the Hudson Valley.

People who follow my work, know I’m a big Howie fan. His writing moves me and (very often) is a perfect fit for my videos and sounds.

In Fugitive Pieces Howie Good used the techniques of the collagist.
The poems are collages sourced from various texts as well as his own imagination.
From the author’s note:

This meant creation through destruction, lifting things from one context and dropping them into another, establishing unfamiliar relationships among familiar objects.

That sounds a bit like creating videopoetry. I often find myself using that same approach (especially when working with found footage or archive material)

I first created a track around samples I took from a documentary ‘Target for today’.

[Soundcloud link]

Only after creating that track I chose a poem from ‘Fugitive Pieces': Simple Brushstrokes on a Naked Canvas
The poem was the perfect match for my soundscape and would work well as ‘text on screen’ in a film composition.

[…]

I collected footage (from Videoblocks) to combine with certain lines from the poem. Played around with timing, font and placement of the text and started puzzling it all together. I believe it works well.

Click through for the text of the poem (or, you know, just watch the film).

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