Umeed-e-Sahar (Hope of the Dawn) by Faiz Ahmed Faiz

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Poem by the great Faiz Ahmed Faiz.

Music and video by Laal.

Love the interplay between the text of the poem and the drama in the video. The Wikipedia article linked above says that Laal are

known for singing socialist political songs, especially those written by leftist Urdu poets such as Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Habib Jalib and Ahmed Faraz. The band received mainstream attention during the Lawyers’ Movement, in which it led support to the reinstatement of the then deposed Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad. […] Laal has not only managed to reconnect the people of Pakistan to the forgotten revolutionary socialist poets, but also introduced them to the youth

—which should serve as a reminder that, in some cultures, poetry still retains considerable power.

Angkor Wat by Remy Mansfield

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Video and poem by Remy Mansfield

The Orange Girl by Odysseus Elytis

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Poem (“Portokolenia”) by Odysseus Elytis

Video by gobraingo, who also provided the following English translation:

THE ORANGE GIRL

She became so intoxicated by the sun’s juice
That she bowed her head and consented
Slowly slowly to become: the little Orange Girl!

And so while the seven skies glittered with blue
And so while the crystals touched a fire
And so while swallow-tails flashed
Angels above were bewildered and girls below
Storks above were bewildered and peacocks below
And all gathered together and saw her together
And all together called her: the little Orange Girl!

Vineshoots and scorpions reel drunkenly the whole world is drunk
But the sting of dawn will not leave pain alone
The dwarf heron says it amid the earthworms
The drip-drop of water says it amid golden moments
And the dew says it to the lips of the good North Wind:

Get up O small small small Orange Girl!
No one knows you as the kiss knows you
Nor does the laughing god know you
Who with his hand open to the flaming glare of the sun
Exposes you naked before his thirty-two winds

Miss Dix Opens a School for the Indigent by Ren Powell

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Poem and animation by Ren Powell

For a higher-quality version of the video, see here.

If I Controlled the Internet by Rives

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Poem by Rives, from TED (video link)

Three by Han Shan (Cold Mountain)

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Video animation of three Han Shan poems by John Akre.

How refreshing to see this modern interpretation of Han Shan, and with a reading in Mandarin Chinese on the sountrack! This is apparently an excerpt from a half-hour-long film produced by the Center for International Education, directed by Mike Hazard:

COLD MOUNTAIN, a half hour film portrait of the Tang Dynasty Chinese poet Han Shan (a.k.a. Cold Mountain), will play with OH, SAIGON at 5pm on Sunday May 3, 2009 at the Oak Street Theater, 309 Oak Street SE, Minneapolis, during the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival. Cold Mountain plays first.

Recorded on location in America, China and Japan, Burton Watson, Red Pine, Jim Lenfestey and the legendary Gary Snyder describe the poet’s life and recite poems.

Co-directed by Mike Hazard and Deb Wallwork, the music is by the internationally renowned pipa player Gao Hong and animations are by John Akre. A project of The Center for International Education, the film has been supported by the Outagamie Foundation, the family of John W. Brower and the Bush Foundation.

Deb Wallwork writes, “Cold Mountain is a rollicking, tasty film filled with poetry, colorful characters, Zen wisdom, and witty commentary. The film gives us glimpses of that mysterious–some say crazy, some say enlightened–figure, Han Shan, who left the dusty world to become a hermit and a poet, and in so doing wrote the intimate and inspired lines that speak to us today.”

Mike Hazard adds, “One way to look at the film is to see that literally everyone in the film is channeling the spirit of Han Shan: the Mandarin of Jin Hua, the trickster animations of John Akre, the street singer, the rice thrashers, the Butterfly Woman, the four poetical guides, the monks in the temple kitchen, the bats in the cave, Gao Hong’s pipa, even the cicadas compose a richly layered portrait of Cold Mountain.”

Two Tanka by Ono no Komachi

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A video by Portuguese artist Bruno Gaspar illustrating a tanka by Ono no Komachi. Here’s an English version:

It’s too cold to sleep
in this lodging on the way
to Iwanoue.
Oh monk, if it’s all the same to you,
could I borrow your robes?

And here’s a short film by Bryan Lacey. The interplay between the classical Japanese poem and modern folk/country song certainly creates an interesting mood, and one worlds away from the original court milieu.

Multiple English versions of the tanka in this video — Ono no Komachi’s most famous poem — are collected here.