What is a soul? by Luisa A. Igloria

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I recently returned to Pennsylvania after a summer in London, and on my way out of Newark, New Jersey, I shot a brief cellphone video through the dusty window of a Greyhound bus, capturing some remarkable murals on a wall beneath a train line. After I got home and recovered from jet-lag a bit, it occurred to me that the footage might make an interesting pairing with a short poem by Luisa A. Igloria, which she’d just posted to the literary blog we share, Via Negativa. Footage shot from car, bus and (especially) train windows is of course exceedingly common in videopoetry, but I’m hoping my use of moving text saves this instance of it from cliché. I liked the juddering racket of the bus, preserving it as-is in the soundtrack even after I slowed the clip down.

When a Wiggly-Monster Was My World by David Olimpio

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An animated poem with text and voiceover by David Olimpio and animation and direction by Efrat Dahan. It was made as part Moving Words, a project from the New Jersey-based organization ARTS By The People pairing American writers with animators from the Shenkar School of Engineering and Design in Tel Aviv. The international premiere of the 2017 animations in Tel Aviv has already happened (August 11), but the US premiere is still up-coming on Sept. 9 at Drew University. (Reserve tickets.) Olimpio told me in an email:

What ABTP is trying to do with the “Moving Words” project is to not only make these stand-alone animation pieces, but also to integrate them with live performances. Here’s the video of me performing this piece live at the Animix Animation Festival in Tel Aviv, where this animation was one of many featured the day before.

Integrating multimedia with live readings is something poets don’t do nearly enough, in my view, and I’ve also long felt that there ought to be more efforts to get university film and animation students to collaborate with poets, so I was excited to learn about Moving Words. (I also really like their name, for some reason.)

Fucking Him by C.O. Moed and Adrian Garcia Gomez

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“Love and fucking may sometimes be the same. But not when it counts,” reads the synopsis for this 2015 poetry film directed jointly by Claire Olivia (C.O.) Moed and Adrian Garcia Gomez.

Last year, Fucking Him won Best Experimental Film at the Manhattan Independent Film Festival and Curator’s Choice for Best Sound/Music at Rabbit Heart Poetry Film Festival, was the Grand Prix Winner for Found Footage at the 2015 Interference Festival in Gdansk, and has been screened in a number of other festivals as well.

Liverpool Disappears for a Billionth of a Second by Paul Farley

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A black-and-white poetry film from 2011 which somehow escaped my attention until now. Paul Farley recites his poem in the soundtrack. The film was edited by Sam Meech, one of four people who share the credit for making the film. The others are Tim Brunsden, Steve Clarkson and Markus Soukup.

This was actually the second film to be made with this poem. The first came out in 2009, a performance-style video imaginatively shot by Paul Beasely.

(Hat-tip: ZEBRA Poetry Film Club.)

Cuerpos de Agua (Water Bodies) by Lilián Pallares

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Half videopoem, half music video, this new film from antenablue — director Charles Olsen and poet Lilián Pallares — features Pallares acting and supplying the voiceover together with a musical arrangement of her poem by Nestor Paz and Manuel Madrid from Poesía Necesaria. Be sure to click the closed captioning (CC) icon to access Olsen’s English translation.

Colour Poems by Margaret Tait

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A classic poetry film by the Scottish filmmaker and poet Margaret Tait (1918-1999). It’s one of “Five Filmpoems: Curated by Susannah Ramsay” in the first issue of an online journal dedicated to “exploring and showcasing the milieux, methods and madnesses of contemporary poetry in all its emergent myriad forms,” All These New Relations. Ramsay has this to say about Colour Poems:

Margaret Tait was known as a filmpoet and experimental filmmaker. Her approach to filmmaking was remarkably similar to the ethos of the avant-garde, generally self-funded, non-conformist, uncompromising, non-commercial, with distribution and exhibition being select. I think Colour Poems (1974) depicts some of the more thought provoking images within her oeuvre. There is a wonderful poetical moment, which begins with the poppy fields where Tait questions the true essence of the image through juxtaposing shots of the Scottish oil industry and related capitalist iconography and a sequence of images relating to a return to the earth. Nature is brought into being through spoken word. The narrator willing the viewer to look beyond what can be seen, to ‘look into all that is illuminated by the light’ […] ‘the own person’s own self perceiving the light and making the music’ suggesting that we are the beholders of (our) true vision.

What would you do? by PXVCE

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A new video by YouTuber PXVCE, who writes in the description,

In this short piece i ask questions about the future of humanity, pointing out systematic oppression in today’s society! Encouraging listeners to wake up and reverse the cycle!

As noted in the video title, this was shot with the help of a small drone as well as a smartphone cinematography extension that sounds pretty amazing.

PXVCE describes himself as a “Cleveland born producer and artist” who “has a goal to create poetry for the culture.”

Subliminal messages embedded in his pieces often evoke medication and a state of chill. Implementing positive vibes and witty word play PXVCE offers a nostalgic style reminiscent of the Harlem Renaissance Era. While the soul takes its aural banquet from the universal language, the conscious is awakened. A Third eye is no longer dormant in the listener’s senses creating change one piece at a time ushering in new thought.

Artist as change agent is nothing new. However, it’s the way that this artist manages to use his music artistry to motivate, initiate, and spark creativity in listeners so that unity and love find a place in their lives that makes him a top-of-mind poet for this generation.