Metamorphosis by Sophie Reyer

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A videopoem by Marc Neys A.K.A. Swoon with poem, voiceover and sounds contributed by Sophie Reyer, piano music by Liu Winter and footage by Jan Eerala. The overall soundtrack composition is Marc’s, along with “mastering, add. camera, editing, grading & concept,” according to the Vimeo description.

This was not Swoon’s first collaboration with Sophie Reyer; he also worked with the Austrian writer and composer two years ago to make Abschied. Metamorphosis was among the 16 films selected for the 2nd Weimar Poetry Film Award.

The Microwave by Mandy Gutmann-Gonzalez

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A three-part videopoem from Chilean poet Mandy Gutmann-Gonzalez and director Hanisha Harjani for the Visible Poetry Project. According to the page about Gutman-Gonzalez on the project website,

The poem chosen for the Visible Poetry Project, “The Microwave,” is in conversation with the hypnotic, digitalized world in Taiwanese artist Chen Wan-jen’s video “The Unconscious Voyage,” in which people move across a barren landscape in loops of repetitive movement. Boundaries, scope, elegy, and apocalypse, are some of the ideas animating this poem.

It seems only appropriate that a poem prompted by a video should be made into a video in turn. Here is The Unconscious Voyage (best expanded to full screen):

Ode to my Bitchface by Olivia Gatwood

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If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of “resting bitch face” (apparently it’s mainly an American expression), the Wikipedia article will get you up to speed. Once you’ve read it, you’ll understand why this response by poet Olivia Gatwood and the dancer/choreographers Rebecca Björling and Rebecca Rosier of the We:R Performance Collective is so, so good. The video was shot and edited by Tim Davis. Björling and Rosier note on Vimeo that

Our latest work ‘Bitchface’ is a dance film we made in reaction to the amazing fierceness of Olivia Gatwood’s poem ‘Ode to my Bitchface’. Beautifully delivered by Olivia in a live performance, we felt like we had to dance the chills out of our bodies as soon as we saw her original video.

And here is the original video in question, posted to YouTube on April 2. It has already been viewed more than half a million times:

The Tao of the Black Plastic Comb by Glenis Redmond

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The latest film in Motionpoems’ Season 7 features a poem by Glenis Redmond as interpreted by director Irving Hillman. The poem appears in Richmond’s 2016 collection What My Hand Say.

The Last Days by Lucy English

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The latest addition to the Book of Hours, Lucy English’s multi-filmmaker collaborative poetry film project, is by Marie Craven, who used footage from the 1942 documentary A Child Went Forth and music by Kevin MacLeod. The close fit of text to images paves the way for an especially affecting zinger of a last line.

Incidentally, I gather from Facebook that Lucy is still looking for collaborators. Get in touch with her if you’re interested.

Hell: why there is by Martha McCollough

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I admit, I want there to be hell. I want to decide who goes there.

Martha McCollough’s latest videopoem makes a case for everyone’s least favorite afterlife destination. The video appears in Issue Seven of Datableed, one of the relatively few literary magazines that specifically mentions “visual or video poetry” as something they’re looking for.

Freestyle at “Poetic Justice In The Park” by Micah Fletcher

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Micah Fletcher, the sole survivor of last Friday’s knife attack by a white supremacist on a train in Portland, Oregon, is featured in this brief YouTube promo from September 2015:

Micah Fletcher from the Whatcha Wanna Do Crew spit a freestyle at Poetic Justice in the Park. Check it out. Don’t forget to come out to Poetic Justice Every Last Saturday of the Month!

It’s an unremarkable video, but Fletcher is clearly a remarkable man who doesn’t merely talk the talk, but walks the walk, as The Oregonian reports:

One of the men who came to the defense of a teenager wearing a hijab on a MAX train Friday won a 2013 poetry competition with a poem condemning prejudices faced by Muslims.

Micah David-Cole Fletcher was injured in the attack after he and two other men approached suspect Jeremy Christian, who was allegedly yelling racial slurs at two young women, one of whom is Muslim.

Christian is suspected of stabbing all three of them, killing Rick Best, 53, and Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche, 23, and injuring Fletcher. Fletcher, now 21, was a Madison high school student when he won the poetry contest.

[…]

At first, Fletcher refused painkillers. He had seen people become addicted, Helm said, and didn’t want that to happen to him. But his family’s pleas and the growing pain made him change his mind, Helm said.

“‘This is the most exquisite pain I have ever felt,'” Fletcher told her.

The young man’s family could not be reached.

Last Memorial Day weekend, Fletcher and other poets part of Spit/WRITE, a youth poetry group, were reading poems about social justice on a MAX train. The purpose was to give them the space to call attention to social justice issues, one of his poetry mentors, S. Renee Mitchell, said.

Fletcher has already established himself as a poet passionate about social injustice. One of his poems in a 2013 poetry slam that he won railed against the prejudices faced by Muslims.

“When two towering trees of wrought iron and glass and cement are brought down to their knees,
We let it leave an ugly footprint on america that hasn’t disappeared in 12 years.
As in one third the amount of civilians killed by drones in the middle east per one terrorist caught in the crossfire,”
Fletcher read from a black book.

His performance can be seen on YouTube.

[…]

Portland poet Maia Abbruzzese said Fletcher was a mentor to her and another 11 poets in 2015. She’s come across him numerous times since then at poetry slams. His poems are philosophical and often have a social justice angle, she said.

Because of the themes in his poetry and what she saw of his personality, Abbruzzese said she wasn’t surprised he was involved in the incident on the MAX train.

“Just because of who he is as a person,” Abbruzzese said. “He deeply cares about other people.”

For more about Fletcher and the other two victims of the attack, Taliesin Myrddin Namkai Meche and Rick Best, see “These three men stood up to hate in Portland” on CNN.com. I don’t usually get on the soapbox here, but as a U.S. citizen and a leftist, I will just say that although it’s tempting to be endlessly cynical about U.S. war-making and neoliberal economic imperialism, that’s not necessarily who we are. We are David Christian a bit, yes, but we are also the young women he abused and the three men who stood up to oppose him. As a poet, I’d like to think that I would’ve done as Micah Fletcher did, but I’m not sure I would’ve found the courage. In any case, there’s no need to indulge further tribal feelings here. I’m simply proud to be part of the same human race as Micah Fletcher.