This complex, multi-faceted videopoem was the April 26 offering from the Visible Poetry Project, and was directed by one of the project’s executive producers, Christina Ellsberg, about whom the website notes:
She graduated from Barnard College in 2016, where she studied medical anthropology and poetry writing. Christina is currently working on an upcoming horror/comedy web series, and will be attending divinity school in the fall.
As for the poet,
Sophia Buchanan Bannister is currently studying English as an undergraduate at Barnard College. In addition to poetry, her interests include baking, comedy, and vintage shoes. She was drawn to the Visible Poetry Project for the opportunity to share a vision, a sentiment, and an urgency across artistic mediums.
This is the latest in a series of videos by Helen Dewbery and Chaucer Cameron for collections of poetry from Nine Arches Press, which just celebrated its tenth birthday with the publication of the book excerpted here: What Are You After? by Josephine Corcoran. (It’s a lovely collection, incidentally; I just bought a copy and began reading it yesterday. Always good to support a fellow blogger and late bloomer!)
This latest and I think most ambitious of Daniel Cantagallo’s remix-style cinepoems is accompanied by a thoughtful essay on Medium, “Don’t Touch the Poet | Joel Oppenheimer’s New York“. It begins:
Joel Oppenheimer knew cities…actually one in particular…New York City…and to be more specific “New York City below 14th Street”, in that once bohemian enclave of the 60s and 70s where he could do what he did best: be there when it happens and write it down.
Despite his relative obscurity today, Oppenheimer was a legendary figure of the West Village art scene, a Black Mountain College attendee, a regular columnist for the Village Voice, the first director of St. Mark’s Poetry Project on the Lower East Side, and yet still, he never quite received the recognition he felt he deserved in his time, let alone ours.
I came across the off-the-cuff, propulsive energy of Oppenheimer’s “Cities, This City” on UbuWeb from a 1976 reading at St. Mark’s Church. His elegiac affection and tough-talking ambivalence about urban life spoke to my feelings about New York after too many years sprinting a marathon on its hamster wheels with over 8 million other hamsters.
Hush. Even in the dark days, there is hope.
Think beyond the light failing on this grubby afternoon…
This may be a basic video (from the livestream by Katalogon of Poetry International Festival Rotterdam, 2 June 2018), but it is nevertheless essential watching: a master poet at the top of his game calling out the rot at the heart of the American dream. The text is from Danez Smith’s award-winning collection Don’t Call Us Dead and has been reprinted online at Literary Hub.