two story train by Martha McCollough

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An author-made videopoem by Martha McCollough. It appears in Issue 4.0 of the experimental poetry zine Datableed.

Jigsawed by Tania Hershman

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This is I love it how conversations flow from family to brown bread, an elegant, black-and-white poetry film by Ana Levisky with an interesting directive:

From landscapes to pubs and stores, a sequence of spots where personal episodes occurred is presented in an attempt to capture the geographical power in the absence of events or characters.

Bristol-based writer Tania Hershman reads her poem in the soundtrack, accompanied by Christopher Kestell’s original score on piano.

The Small Ones by Lynne Sachs

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Experimental filmmaker Lynne Sachs created this videopoem with quotes from a cousin in the audio track juxtaposed with imagery on top of which several of the most memorable lines are repeated as text. Here’s the description from her website:

During World War II, the United States Army hired Lynne Sachs’ cousin, Sandor Lenard, to reconstruct the bones – small and large – of dead American soldiers. This short anti-war cine-poem is composed of highly abstracted battle imagery and children at a birthday party.

“Profound. The soundtrack is amazing. The image at the end of the girl with the avocado seed so hopeful. Good work.” Barbara Hammer

Black Maria Film Festival Director’s Choice Award; Ann Arbor Film Festival; Tribeca Film Festival; MadCat Film and Video Festival; Harvard Film Archive; Pacific Film Archive; Dallas Film Fest; Cinema Project, Portland.

available on Lynne Sachs 10 Short Films DVD from www.microcinema.com
and on For Life, Against the War DVD Compilation of 25 films from the Filmmakers Cooperative

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.