The City Inside, Part 1 by Tim Cumming

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A new film from UK poet and filmmaker Tim Cumming, who notes on Vimeo:

First part of a two-part film of a London poem The City Inside. You could call it an inner city revealed.
Every metropolis dweller has their own inner city, an internal map organism that grows through space and time. This is work in progress. Status may change.

Hotelsituation, langes Liegen / Hotel Situation, Long Recumbency by Steffen Popp

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A film by Marc Neys (AKA Swoon) using a poem by the contemporary German poet Steffen Popp. The poet’s recitation and the English translation by Christian Hawkey were sourced from Lyrikline. The choice to have the untranslated audio version first, followed by the translation as text-on-screen, is unusual, but I think it works, echoed as it is by the vertically split screen. It does mean, however, that more than two-thirds of the film is devoted to the slower-moving English version.

The house and the surrounding fields by Ed Madden

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One of three short videopoems from the South Carolina-based filmmaking duo Allen Wheeler in support of Ed Madden‘s new poetry collection Ark (Sibling Rivalry Press), ahead of the launch on Sunday. Quoting the publisher’s description:

In a spring of floods, a son returns to rural Arkansas to help care for his dying father. Ark is a book about family, about old wounds and new rituals, about the extraordinary importance of ordinary things at the end of life, about the gifts of healing to be found in the care of the dying. At once a memoir in verse about hospice care and a son’s book-length lament for his father, Ark is a book about the things that can be fixed, and those that can’t. Ed Madden is originally from Arkansas and is currently the Poet Laureate of Columbia, South Carolina.

Wheeler and Madden have also made an exemplary book trailer, incorporating the above poem as well as some blurbs:

After Image by Matt Mullins

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Poet Matt Mullins shows how to make an effective videopoem out of a single photo. The text, voiceover, and audio-visual composition are all his own here; the original photographer is unknown.

Creased Map of the Underworld by Kim Addonizio

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Kim Addonizio‘s poem was adapted to film by Thomas Bryan Michurski for Motionpoems, where one can also read interviews with the poet and filmmaker. Addonizio’s reaction to the film was very positive:

I (naively) thought there’d be some images from the poem. But like how the words are set against the simple actions & the mood it all creates.

Michurski talks about the attraction of working mostly in advertising, then describes his approach to filming:

I like to prepare, but I don’t like to plan. I have shots in my head that I want, but experimentation is essential for me. I always have my fingers crossed for that surprising moment or happy accident. It’s like carving a marble statue–something good is already in the scene, I just need to chip away and find it.

Can you describe the creative process behind the film for Creased Map of the Underworld?

It was the first poem I read and knew immediately I wanted to work with it. I was drawn to the “innocence of death” idea. At first I struggled with how I could visually play along with the vivid imagery in the poem. The treatment I created was much different, using high contrast black and white, with a much more diverse scene and shot list, more like a music video. I realized as I was in first edit that I didn’t need to illustrate the poem because it was powerful enough. I wanted to add to the idea and not distract from it.

Did you find it more difficult to create a “poetry in motion” as compared to your other films?

The difficulty was removing myself from the need to “make a film about a poem”. I had to separate myself from belief that it had to follow a style, thus becoming a parody of another film. Once I decided that I didn’t care if anyone liked it, it was much easier to let all of the expectations go and just let it be.

What prompted you to use a specific animal to symbolize death?

It was between the girl viewing the body of an older self or discovering an animal. I even entertained a version where those visuals alternated, but the idea of how death sees death gets too twisted and meta in that scenario. The deer works well because its size and innocence matches the girl’s.

What do you hope that the audience will take from watching this film?

I hope they pay attention to an amazing poem told from an alternate perspective. As humans we have an adverse, and sometimes unhealthy reaction to death and we don’t appreciate the necessity and fascinating beauty of it.

Annabel Hess is the young actress, the narration is by Jan Pettit, and David Schnack is credited with cinematography.

Sottoripa by Julian Stannard

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An award-winning filmpoem produced, directed and edited by Guglielmo Trupia (ENECEfilm) in collaboration with the UK poet Julian Stannard, Sottoripa is especially notable for its imaginative and seamless blend of archival footage from 11 different private and documentary films. The voiceover is by Antonio Carletti and the music by Barrie Bignold.

Steel and Air: untitled prose poem by John Ashbery

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Motionpoems commissioned this film from the Minnesota-based documentary production company Sparky Stories (Chris and Nick Libbey), who describe it on Vimeo as follows:

Steel and Air. Space and time. In the heart of Minneapolis there is an iconic blue and yellow bridge that crosses interstate 394 and connects the Walker Art Museum sculpture garden with Loring Park. Beyond its physical utility, the bridge offers a perspective to its crossers. A perspective of the interstate traffic, of the city, and of the viewer itself.

Inscribed in its lintel is a poem commissioned by the highly-achieved poet, John Ashbery. This poem discusses, in typical Ashbery obscurity, one’s place in the movement of time. The film, Steel and Air, aims to capture and enhance Ashbery’s poem by chronicling a man’s journey through life and the wonderful, boring, and ultimately finite experiences that come with it. And then it got very cool.

The poem first appeared in Ashbery’s collection Hotel Lautréamont (Knopf, 1992).