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Something for April Fool’s Day — and the first day of (Inter-)National Poetry Month — from a king of fools. This episode of the Colbert Report aired on April 19, 2007. Colbert seems to genuinely like poetry, and has interviewed a number of poets on his show. I like the way this skit plays off the misconception popular with people who “just don’t understand poetry”: that a poem (or metaphor) is basically a code with one correct solution. I’m also impressed by Robert Pinksy’s stage presence and acting skills.
Poem by Jillian Weise, from An Amputee’s Guide to Sex
Animation by John Roberts
From the publisher’s description:
The Amputee’s Guide to Sex is an authentic exploration of disability and sexuality. Tired of seeing “cripples” appear as asexual characters in all forms of media, Weise took on a subject close to home: her own disability. This does not mean that these poems “happened” to Weise in real life. While based on the experience of an above-the-knee amputee, the poems have a life of their own.
Poem by Vishwajyoti Ghosh, narrated by Ramesh Venkatraman
Animation by Nilratan Mazumdar
According to the credits at the end this is one of 60 one-minute films commissioned by motiroti, “a London based international arts organisation.” A link on its 60×60 secs page leads to another site that describes the project in somewhat more detail:
60×60 Secs is the first project of the 360° programme, and comprises of 60 one-minute films from 60 artists, 20 each from Britain, India and Pakistan.
Commissioned via open call both established and emerging artists, working in a variety of mediums and spanning a wide age range, present their unique views on ‘home’. Looking beyond media, political and religious definitions, 60×60 Secs unravels complex identities and stories, and redefines cultures that are evolving in an age of globalisation.
The site includes pages for all sixty films, including this one, containing low-, medium- and high-quality Quicktime versions, a brief description, and more detailed credits. Evidently the poet was also responsible for the drawings used in the animation, and directed it as well.
Here’s another interview with Williams in which he addresses more general concerns, also concluding with a reading of “Cassandra, Iraq.” This one was directed and produced by Mel Stuart for the Academy of American Poets.
Poem by Deborah Buchan (text here)
Film by Dawn Furness
Film by Philip Shotton
Both these videos were “commissioned by New Writing North, the literature development agency for the north east of England.”
Poem and animation by Virginia Shank, with music by One Ring Studio
A rare example of a poet making a video interpretation of her own work — and in claymation yet! She gets huge respect from me. I found more information about the project in a blog post.
It’s nice to see that months of work have turned out so well and it’s hard to believe that Virginia found time to sculpt each frame by hand (for a total of literally thousands of individual frames) when she had three classes to take, a literary magazine (Fugue) to read for, and two classes to teach. But she’s like that – when she’s not making the best sushi for a hundred miles or singing Nancy Sinatra at our weekly MFA karaoke sessions, she’s doing THIS.