ななつめの窓 / Seventh Window by Shuhei Hatano

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“My eye is your finger,” reads the Vimeo description of this silent, black-and-white videopoem by Tokyo-based filmmaker Shuhei Hatano. Made in July 2015, it was part of an exhibition of hand-held films in Kunitachi, Japan called 92TOUCH. There’s also a version with only the English titling.

The Dreamer of Samuel Vale House by Antony Owen

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I have Googled the earth and I’m tired of paradise. This city is home. I am its key and broken door.

Coventry-based poet Antony Owen performs his poem in this 2015 film by Adam Steiner (director), Brian Harley (camera and editing) and Alan van Widjgerden (sound), which kicked off a poetry-film project spearheaded by Steiner called Disappear Here. Last year they raised enough money from a crowdfunding campaign to produce a whole series of films exploring the Modernist/Brutalist superstructure of Coventry Ringroad: 27 in all, from nine writers and nine filmmakers. The launch screening is on March 16, and although it’s free, registration is required.

This sounds like a truly commendable use of film to bring the perspectives of poets and artists to bear on pressing local issues (which are also global issues, capitalism being what it is). Here’s a blog post from last year that explains what they hoped to accomplish:

The challenge of Disappear Here is to bring together artists of different stripes, some more experienced practitioners, others up and coming and hungry; native Coventrians and people who might be coming to the city for the first time and seeing it with fresh eyes; expressing the human aspect of what is so commonly seen as an inhuman structure, another one of HRH Charles’ “concrete monstrosities” – by way of contrast, witness the faux-Kensington banality of his ideal housing estate, Poundbury – but it is also fair to say that few near-monolithic concrete structures inspire such intense feelings of love and loathing.

But there is a positivity to the project. As much as it is anything, Coventry Ringroad is an archetype of reinvention. Each time the same A4053 road, but every journey around it different. It is the eye through which Coventry is (notoriously) seen, and can be seen, from above and below; a looping horizon where tarmac sea and brilliant blue sky meet and form a sinew of shuffling perspective. […]

Coventry is an ex-working-class city, chock-full with post-industrial grit from crumbling fire of red brick, after many of its 70s, 80s and 90s industries successively closed down. As such, the city has become an affordable and welcoming haven for artists with a burgeoning community of creative and socially-conscious practitioners – there is a story to be told there. I think the people and the city’s physical attitudes speak to this, guarded but protective. As both defensive wall and encircling stranglehold – the ringroad echoes this taut insularity, but also provides us with a blank canvas for reimagining public space. I think this push/pull reflex makes for an interesting tension as to how we define a city and its search for its centre.

Read the rest. According to the Disappear Here Facebook page, there are plans to tour the films across the UK after the premiere in Coventry.

Estátuas / Statues by Conceição Lima

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Another compelling short videopoem from Conceição Lima (poem, reading) and David Shook (video, English translation) filmed in Lima’s native São Tomé and Príncipe last month. The back-flipping children in the opening shot are a perfect counterpoise to the still statues in the succeeding shot, all in service to the text’s central paradox. Are the proverbial “feet of clay” truly a liability, or perhaps instead a sign of groundedness?

The Vimeo description notes that the poem appears in the collection O País de Akendenguê, and that Shook is in São Tomé on a National Endowment for the Arts Translation Fellowship. I’m not sure how much NEA money has been spent on poetry films over the years, but I’m guessing very, very little.

Spree by Ian McBryde

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TV broadcasters’ cliches are literally dismembered in this riveting videopoem by Canadian-Australian poet Ian McBryde and videographer Martin Kelly.

these are a few of my favourite things by Janet Lees

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U.K. poet Janet Lees and photographer and videographer Rooney are among my favorite poetry-film collaborative partnerships; every one of their too few videopoems is a small gem. Marc Neys profiled them back in 2014: “The Real and Pure Worlds of Janet Lees and Terry Rooney.” The above is a film he didn’t include in his piece, but to me it’s a great illustration of the poet’s dictum that less is more. Mayto Sotomayor is credited as editor.

Aleppo by Howie Good

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A new videopoem by Marc Neys A.K.A. Swoon for a poem by Howie Good. Soundbites from Al Jazeera appear in the soundtrack together with Marc’s original music. When he shared it on Facebook, he included a brief note about its origin:

Howie Good wrote a strong poem, Aleppo. It called me and in one burst I created this video/soundpiece yesterday. Enjoy!

And a few days later, he indicated it might lead to more Swoon videopoems this year. Fingers crossed!

At the border by Jan Baeke

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This videopoem from Public Thought, the collaborative team of Dutch poet Jan Baeke and designer and media artist Alfred Marseille, was screened at ZEBRA 2016. Completed last July, it is sadly more relevant than ever: a “Poetic reflection on the ambiguities of the refugee crisis, media coverage, extremist propaganda and EU politics,” as Baeke and Marseille describe it. (Click through for the text.)