Insight: i.m. Michael Hartnett by Eleanor Hooker

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A filmpoem by Dublin-based photographer and director George Hooker for a poem by his mother, Eleanor Hooker. Insight was featured at Poetry Film Live, which included thumbnail bios, the text of the poem, and these process notes from the author:

George made this filmpoem for me as a Mother’s Day gift in April this year. He read the poem and then created a story board, with second by second plan for each ‘scene’. He enlisted the help of his brother and father and his girlfriend, Martina Babisova, an actress. The film was made on one cartridge of super 8mm film with only in-camera edits and no post-production. As 8mm film does not have a sound facility, George recorded the sound separately. He entered the filmpoem into the Straight 8 competition, who arranged to have sound added to the film in studios in London. The film was selected by an international jury and was premiered on July 9th 2017 at the Picturehouse Central, London as part of Straight 8’s UK premieres. The poem was first published in The Irish Times newspaper and subsequently in my second poetry collection, A Tug of Blue.

Angelofania / Angelophany by Sergi García Lorente

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Text and film by Sergi García Lorente (be sure to click on the CC icon for English subtitles). Paula Berrido Aceña is the actress. García Lorente notes on his website that he “studied Audiovisual Media in order to connect audiovisuals with poetry, to emphasize word’s beauty by visual and audio impulses.” On his About page, he writes:

Poetry is everywhere. Poetry’s beauty lies encrusted under wounds’ shallowness. So we have to scratch the scab and let us bleed. That’s what I try to do with poetry, photography and cinema. There’s too much beauty inside every single thing. It doesn’t matter how hard or high or intense is poetry’s commotion; my will is to catch those endless emotions and impress them through something I’d like to call art.

I was struck by this choice of words, since Poetry Everywhere was the name of one of the first large-scale poetry video projects in the era of YouTube and Vimeo, launched by the Chicago-based Poetry Foundation back in 2008. The notion of films that could be available to people anywhere in the world with a fast internet connection was then still an exciting novelty.

But enough of my old-man rambling. I thought this video made for an interesting follow-on to the previous three videos I’ve shared, all also made by the poets themselves, and each also depicting or representing female desire in some way. Those poet-directors were women, though, and the contrast in choice of images is striking. I don’t mean to pick on Mr. García Lorente; the tension between titillation and aesthetic epiphany has obviously been at play in the treatment of nudes throughout Western art history, and this is a well-done film. But it’s interesting to see how many more aesthetic possibilities emerge when the made becomes the maker.

inexhaustible wealths of feeling by Shabnam Piryaei

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The latest “mediapoem” from poet and filmmaker Shabnam Piryaei. In lieu of any other description, Piryaei simply shares the text of the poem:

I can’t mark the first loneliness, the elongated pause, inkless and imagining magnolias. Or the first guilt, terrain of peaches overripe and trespassed with rigid fingers. Or the first haunt, a gas station bathroom swarmed with flies, slack spirits dangling from their mouths. Or the first love, tide of hyacinth, tide of red mud, chorus of elderly song. Or the first love, inebriated child wandering along snowy tracks. Or the first love, holding you by the wrists, shaking you like a bell.

This just appeared in my Vimeo feed yesterday, but I thought it was too good a companion for Friday’s and Thursday’s videos to hold it in the queue.

My Lover’s Pretty Mouth by Cindy St. Onge

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This author-made videopoem by the Oregon-based poet Cindy St. Onge is

the first in a series of Japanese/English poems that are part of process which is reflective and purgative. Soundtrack created with Garage Band, footage sourced from Videoblocks and Shutterstock, and edited with Movie Maker.

Read the text (in both languages) at St. Onge’s blog.

Intrigued, I contacted Cindy to ask if she’d like to say anything more about her process. She wrote:

These poems that are coming through are what I call ‘telegraphed,’ in that there is little contrivance involved until the revision happens. The meaning of “…Mouth” wasn’t clear to me until I had completed the video.

The poems are rooted in my difficult relationship with Japanese culture, after being married to a Japanese man many years ago. The mystery, to me, is the sudden and spontaneous telegraphing. Honestly, I don’t understand it. At this point, I’m just trying to be a good conduit for the poems, and if I get closure, even better.

As for the bilingual process, the poems were drafted in English with a smattering of Japanese, and I realized as I recited one of the poems that I loved how the Japanese sounded, how the word felt in my mouth, and determined to translate the whole poem — as an experiment. I haven’t spoken Japanese in 25 years, so I had to research most of it, relearning the language, really. As the translation got underway, the Japanese shaped the English revision of the poems, so there was this back-and-forth construction happening. It’s riling up memories, but it’s very satisfying at the same time.

Lowing by Jessica Rigney

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A poetry film directed and with music by the author, Jessica Rigney. The text was published in Salomé, a new “online literary magazine for emerging female writers,” as part of their Body issue (July 2017). It’s interesting seeing such perennial literary themes — sex, fertility, female body as landscape — treated from an entirely female point-of-view. When I watched this for the first time, it seemed at once very familiar and entirely new.

Sea Grapes by Derek Walcott

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Director Keenan Wetzel calls this “A modern representation of the ancient struggle between obsession and responsibility based on the poem ‘Sea Grapes’ by Nobel prize winner Derek Walcott.” The actor is Mark Colson, and Jake Bianco was the cinematographer.

A Sonnet after Chopin’s Requiem by Monique-Adelle Callahan

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A poem by Monique-Adelle Callahan turned into a film by the production company Timber (Jonah Hall and Kevin Lau), who note on Vimeo:

Every year the Motion Poems organization puts on a film festival where they pair a poet along with a filmmaker. The filmmaker is given nothing more than the words on the page to go off of for inspiration. The two never really meet and the result is a new visual interpretation of the poem that new and not influenced by the poet. Timber was lucky to be invited to the 2016 round and 7th season of the Motion Poems series. This year the theme was black poets and the poem we interrupted was Sonnet After Chopin’s Requiem by Monique-Adelle.

Enjoy the visual journey that we were taken on by the beautiful words of the author. Timber explored the ideas of visualizing sound and the experience of Synesthesia. We wanted to experiment with textures and feels and create worlds that evoked movement and ambiguity.

Click through for the credits, and visit Motionpoems to read the text.