A mirrored field turns into layered images of a church interior in this new videopoem from Ruben Quesada for
A poem by Roger Reeves from his debut collection of poetry, KING ME (Copper Canyon Press, 2013).
Music: “Symphony No. 5” by Gustav Mahler
This nearly 14-minute videopoem was conceived, shot and edited by Sva Li Levy, AKA syncopath. Initially I wondered how it was going to hold my attention for so long, especially considering that Borges’ original poem is fairly short, but I needn’t have worried: I found it mesmerizing, a brilliant concept beautifully executed. How better, indeed, to anticipate love than by going through a soapy car-wash, Coltrane’s “Love Supreme” playing on the radio? And then playing around with the radio dial and finding Borges’ poem mysteriously transmitted in different languages: Hebrew (read by Yitzhak Hyzkia), Spanish (Julio Martinez Mezansa), English (Yonatan Kunda, reading the Alastair Reid translation), Portuguese (Martha Rieger) and French (Ravit Hanan).
Including the text of a poem in the soundtrack of a poetry film or videopoem has by now become so standard a move that I think I’ve been hungry for a new twist. And Levy’s treatment feels right in part because the poem could so easily be made to seem sententious, and instead he brings out the undercurrent of humor and the provisional quality found in so much of Borges’ writing.
Australian artist Marie Craven‘s video remix of a poem from The Poetry Storehouse by Missouri-based poet Laura M Kaminski. Craven recently blogged some process notes on three films she’s made with Kaminski’s poems, including this one:
I met Laura on social media after the first video, and our mutual membership of the Pool creative group put us in more contact after that. I sent her a message about making something new with her writing, and asked if she would be interested in responding in poetry to four pieces of royalty-free video footage I had found at VideoBlocks. She was interested in a continued collaboration and willing to write a new poem. But her first response to the images I sent was that they reminded her of a poem she had already written, ‘Lilies of the Field’. I loved the poem, agreed there was a fit, and so went to work. I decided text on screen might be the way to go for this video. To that end, I rearranged the line breaks in the poem to better suit the screen, which Laura welcomed in the final result. In response to the poem, I also found additional video images to go with the original ones I had sent Laura. One of these – the road at night shot – is by videographer, Gene Cornelius in Alaska, whose fantastic videography is featured in some of my previous videopoems. The music in the video is Slow Blizzard by Clutter (aka Shaun Blezard in Cumbria, UK). Shaun and I have been in online contact on and off for several years and this is a track I’ve loved since I first heard it in about 2010. Once the video was completed, I contacted Nic Sebastian at The Poetry Storehouse to ask if she might be interested in publishing the poem and video at the site. They are both now there.
Sarah Sloat is an American poet who works as journalist in Germany, and whose poems appear widely in print and online journals—including at The Poetry Storehouse, where Marc Neys A.K.A. Swoon found the text for this film. As he notes in a recent blog post, it’s the first in a series of at least five films based on Poetry Storehouse poems that he has in the works.
I really loved the poem (the visuals) and the reading (so good) by DM.
Making a track for this reading was fun;
[listen on SoundCloud]
Broken rhythms crashing in a fleeting piano. Not much more was needed for this.
For the visuals I wanted to go back to my childhood.
As a kid I loved hanging ’round the local market. The colours, the noise, the shouting, the smell,…
I thought it might be a good idea to match this poem/soundtrack with images and footage from IICADOM.
Combining images from different market places with shots from local animals filmed at several travels. It gives the video the right amount of colour and naïve amazement I was looking for.
A reminder, for any poets who might be reading this: the deadline for submissions to The Poetry Storehouse is coming up on February 28. After that it will transition to archive mode, adding new remixes (including videos) only up through September.
Like contemporary lyric poetry itself, poetry film these days is overwhelmingly serious in tone. Here’s an exception. Bristol-based filmmaker Graeme Maguire and poet Marcus Slease have produced “an experiment in letting go of perfection and critical thinking” that’s also highly entertaining in a Rabelaisian sort of way. Let me reproduce Maguire’s Vimeo description in full:
DIRECTOR: Graeme Maguire
ASSISTANT DIRECTOR: Sarah Maguire
POETRY: Marcus Slease
SOUNDS: Annie Gardiner of Hysterical Injury
STARRING: Rick Hambleton, Natalie Brown, Mo, Jamie Lindsay
THANKS TO: The Cube, Scubaboy Inc, Floating Harbour Studios, Geneva Stop
Gentlemen is a poetry film project in collaboration with poet Marcus Slease. The film was created for an event called Uptight in Bristol, the name of which was the inspiration for the theme of the film. Inspired by Robert Frank’s ‘Pull My Daisy’, a silent film overlaid with jazz music and poetry by Jack Kerouac, Gentlemen is shot on super-8 and contains no dialogue. It is accompanied by a poetic narration by Marcus and an interpretive bass guitar sound track by Annie Gardiner.
The film is also an experiment in letting go of perfection and critical thinking. It was shot on one 3 minute roll of super-8 with all editing done in-camera. This meant planning and timing out all the shots before the shoot and then shooting each one in sequence using a stop watch. After processing the film the result is a fully edited film. This also meant that we could only do one take of each shot so the actors HAD to get it right first time!
[I]nstead of moaning about not being able to connect with other British poets, we want to join forces with artists in other mediums and create a united front against the thugs that control the literary, political and social world of this country. Just as the Beats were influenced by Bop Jazz, and the New York school poets inspired by painters, we feel more at home with Bristol’s DIY artists/musicians/activists.
We are two poets, Sarah Maguire (Bristol) and Marcus Slease (London) that to put it mildly are sick of traditional intellectual, stiff, PHD driven British poetry and feel obligated to do something …anything ….to make a change.
We have created Uptight for our own mental health and general punk fuck you activism! We will hold regular events that will bring together poetry, music and film. Our events will be queer friendly, woman friendly and we will make every effort to be inclusive and engage with artists of various ethnic and cultural backgrounds.
Uptight is working on the first publication of a print (YES real recycled paper) and online magaZINE that will show case all that is truly modern in art and poetry.