Tuba Player by Robert Wood

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A Robert Wood poem and Nic Sebastian reading from The Poetry Storehouse were remixed with footage from the Prelinger Archives in this videopoem by Dustin Luke Nelson (whose poetry is also included at the Storehouse). The poem originally appeared in Rose and Thorn Journal.

Arion Resigns by Matt Mullins

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American poet and electronic literature expert Matt Mullins, who has previously made some compelling videopoems on his own, collaborated with filmmaker Marc Neys (A.K.A. Swoon) for this one, as he notes in the Vimeo description:

A film by Swoon. A collaboration with Matt Mullins. Matt Mullins put together a recitation and score for a piece he’d written loosely based around the myth of Arion—a minor Greek god of music and poetry—that plays out in the context [of] corporate America. He pulled aspects of this myth into the score sonically, worked his recitation into it, and sent it off to Swoon, who came back with a visually compelling counterpoint that enhanced the poem’s subtext.

(Update, 28 March) Marc has blogged some fairly extensive process notes, including this:

I loved how he constructed a track around his poem. A scape full of (birdlike) noises that invited me to dive in.
The video is a splitscreen-storyline where I play out a female and male character (Thanks Rebekah, aka Softly Galoshes)
I took words from the poem and paired them with illustrations from other words from the poem. Those pairs blip throughout the video…
We wrote back and forth about certain visual decisions I made;

Matt: “I like what she represents and I like her demeanor and the things she does. I’m just wondering if a man giving off a similar insomniac/doubt vibe might be bring out more of the poem’s layers. His facing us would still give a counterpoint to the man’s back in the window while also adding a kind of visual echo of the narrator. But I don’t know, there are things about the woman I like as well. What do you think?”

Me: “I specifically picked out a female face to open up that perspective. To avoid people relating the narrator to the face…”
Things like that.

I believe the idea, the poem, the track work pretty well together. We were happy enough with it to set up a few more collabs. I’ve sent Matt a bunch of unfinished video’s, raw editings, visual ideas,… to play around with. More to follow this one soon, I guess.

Orchids by Diane Lockward

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A poem by Diane Lockward from The Poetry Storehouse, in what Nic Sebastian calls a still image remix — the first of two videopoems she’s made so far with the digital artwork of Adam Martinakis. Nic has just posted some process notes for the two videos. A couple of snippets:

I loved [Adam Martinakis'] weird and wonderful images as soon as I saw them. His website pictures are downloadable (not everyone is so open, even though the files for online viewing are necessarily quite small), so I was able to download the ones I liked and privately get a good sense of how I might work with them before I asked Adam for permission. He gave it at once, and went so far as to say there was no need for me to clear the final version with him. (I did, though – things work better if you keep folks posted all the way, I find).

[...]

A subset of Adam’s images were more rawly sexual, almost predatory, and these came together in my mind as a great backdrop for Diane’s lush, voluptuous poem about orchids, but not about orchids. The poem is couched as a warning to the predator against obsessive pursuit of the object, and I thought I could present the corollary of that – the vulnerability to exploitation of the object, whether a woman or an orchid in the wild. Adam’s image of the falling girl in a fetal position wrapped in gold foil struck me as exquisitely vulnerable and a wonderful way to wrap up this ‘story’.

This genre, to which I have perhaps inappropriately applied the term kinestasis — basically, fancy slideshows in video form — probably accounts for 90 percent of all poetry videos on YouTube. Most, of course, are thoroughly unimaginative, so I told Nic in an email that I was happy to see her elevating the genre a bit. Much to both of our surprise, however, the four still-image remixes she’s made so far have already surpassed almost every other videopoem she’s ever made in the number of views they’ve racked up. I would suggest that’s because, when the artists whose work she uses link to the videos, their artist friends on Facebook actually go and watch them. Poets trying to get other poets to watch videos is always going to be more of a struggle. At any rate, read Nic’s full account on her blog.

Todos esos momentos se perderan (All these moments will be lost in time) by Dier

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In celebration of World Poetry Day, here’s a video which may not fit some people’s idea of a poem at all — but which, to my way of thinking, represents the purest form of videopoetry. In fact, it was brought to my attention by videopoetry pioneer Tom Konyves (more about that in a minute). It’s the work of the Madrid-based filmmaker and graffiti artist Dier, and incorporates two kinds of found text: in the soundtrack, a monologue from the movie Blade Runner, and as images on the screen, the erased words of painted-over graffiti. The former is (eventually) translated into Spanish-language graffiti, but it’s the “lost” words that are uniquely able to communicate — or fail to communicate — in all languages, due to the universality of silence. This struck me as especially suggestive today, given the emphasis of World Poetry Day on endangered languages and censored or silenced poets, as well as on dialogue between poetry and the other arts. To quote from the UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova’s message,

Today, contemporary forms of poetry, from graffiti to slam, enable young people to become engaged in the practice and renew it by opening the door to a new space for creation. The forms evolve, but the poetic impulse remains intact. [...] As a deep expression of the human mind and as a universal art, poetry is a tool for dialogue and rapprochement.

In videopoetry as Konyves conceives of it, the meshing of different media goes well beyond mere dialogue, however. In a review of this video, “Loss, Memory, Spectacle, Redemption: A Hermeneutic Approach to Dier’s Videopoem Todos esos momentos se perderan (All Those Moments Will Be Lost In Time),” he reminds us that, in his view, “the ‘poetry’ in a videopoem is not the privileged ‘text’ — it is the moment of intersection between the text, image and sound.”

In “Todos esos momentos se perderan”, Dier succeeded in discovering the collaborative properties of the elements of text, image and sound. (Not all texts, images and soundtracks can be said to have ‘collaborative properties'; a previous!y published poem, for example, may arrive complete-in-itself.) The text is appropriated and bifurcated so that its relationship to the images (supported by a soundtrack that is itself an appropriation) presents to the viewer a metaphor extended and redrawn through key ‘moments’ in the unfolding of the work. The words of the spoken text are translated to Spanish before they are “enacted”, emphasizing their adaptation and service to the real world.

Due to the difficulty of copying and pasting from the online document, I’ll leave my quoting at that, but do click through and read the rest — an illuminating analysis which, unlike a lot of theorizing, should also be of practical value to any poets or filmmakers working in the field. For credits and Dier’s found-poem text translated from Blade Runner, see the description on Vimeo.

Deflowered by Sara Mithra

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Sara Mithra’s latest videopoem once again makes good use of old home-movie footage from the Prelinger Archives. She calls it

A story of flowers with sharp desires, set to a bricolage about women who go into the woods in search of deer and the hunters they find. The film is entirely sourced from super 8 home movies of unknown origin and authorship. The score, by Lee Gerstmann, is taken unaltered from a damaged reel-to-reel recording, adding a warped, unsettling soundtrack.

Sideshow by Lauren Wheeler

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This is Crevice, a terrific videopoem I happened across on Vimeo a few weeks ago. It’s the work of Tiffany Irene, who according to her Vimeo user bio is a film student at Temple University in Philadelphia. Summer Patterson is the actor.

Lauren Wheeler has an interesting background: a video game developer who describes herself as a “recovering slam poet.” For the text of the poem, see The Nervous Breakdown.

Is this Beulah Land? by Al Rempel

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A new videopoem by filmmaker Stephen St. Laurent featuring the words of British Columbia-based poet Al Rempel. It came about in a uniquely collaborative fashion, according to the YouTube description: “It started with a musical piece by Jeremy [Stewart]. Al then took that music and wrote a poem to accompany it. Steph then sculpted the video and directed Teresa [DeReis] in the voice work.”