The Tao of the Black Plastic Comb by Glenis Redmond

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The latest film in Motionpoems’ Season 7 features a poem by Glenis Redmond as interpreted by director Irving Hillman. The poem appears in Richmond’s 2016 collection What My Hand Say.

The Last Days by Lucy English

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The latest addition to the Book of Hours, Lucy English’s multi-filmmaker collaborative poetry film project, is by Marie Craven, who used footage from the 1942 documentary A Child Went Forth and music by Kevin MacLeod. The close fit of text to images paves the way for an especially affecting zinger of a last line.

Incidentally, I gather from Facebook that Lucy is still looking for collaborators. Get in touch with her if you’re interested.

Hell: why there is by Martha McCollough

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I admit, I want there to be hell. I want to decide who goes there.

Martha McCollough’s latest videopoem makes a case for everyone’s least favorite afterlife destination. The video appears in Issue Seven of Datableed, one of the relatively few literary magazines that specifically mentions “visual or video poetry” as something they’re looking for.

Freestyle at “Poetic Justice In The Park” by Micah Fletcher

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Micah Fletcher, the sole survivor of last Friday’s knife attack by a white supremacist on a train in Portland, Oregon, is featured in this brief YouTube promo from September 2015:

Micah Fletcher from the Whatcha Wanna Do Crew spit a freestyle at Poetic Justice in the Park. Check it out. Don’t forget to come out to Poetic Justice Every Last Saturday of the Month!

It’s an unremarkable video, but Fletcher is clearly a remarkable man who doesn’t merely talk the talk, but walks the walk, as The Oregonian reports:

One of the men who came to the defense of a teenager wearing a hijab on a MAX train Friday won a 2013 poetry competition with a poem condemning prejudices faced by Muslims.

Micah David-Cole Fletcher was injured in the attack after he and two other men approached suspect Jeremy Christian, who was allegedly yelling racial slurs at two young women, one of whom is Muslim.

Christian is suspected of stabbing all three of them, killing Rick Best, 53, and Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche, 23, and injuring Fletcher. Fletcher, now 21, was a Madison high school student when he won the poetry contest.

[…]

At first, Fletcher refused painkillers. He had seen people become addicted, Helm said, and didn’t want that to happen to him. But his family’s pleas and the growing pain made him change his mind, Helm said.

“‘This is the most exquisite pain I have ever felt,'” Fletcher told her.

The young man’s family could not be reached.

Last Memorial Day weekend, Fletcher and other poets part of Spit/WRITE, a youth poetry group, were reading poems about social justice on a MAX train. The purpose was to give them the space to call attention to social justice issues, one of his poetry mentors, S. Renee Mitchell, said.

Fletcher has already established himself as a poet passionate about social injustice. One of his poems in a 2013 poetry slam that he won railed against the prejudices faced by Muslims.

“When two towering trees of wrought iron and glass and cement are brought down to their knees,
We let it leave an ugly footprint on america that hasn’t disappeared in 12 years.
As in one third the amount of civilians killed by drones in the middle east per one terrorist caught in the crossfire,”
Fletcher read from a black book.

His performance can be seen on YouTube.

[…]

Portland poet Maia Abbruzzese said Fletcher was a mentor to her and another 11 poets in 2015. She’s come across him numerous times since then at poetry slams. His poems are philosophical and often have a social justice angle, she said.

Because of the themes in his poetry and what she saw of his personality, Abbruzzese said she wasn’t surprised he was involved in the incident on the MAX train.

“Just because of who he is as a person,” Abbruzzese said. “He deeply cares about other people.”

For more about Fletcher and the other two victims of the attack, Taliesin Myrddin Namkai Meche and Rick Best, see “These three men stood up to hate in Portland” on CNN.com. I don’t usually get on the soapbox here, but as a U.S. citizen and a leftist, I will just say that although it’s tempting to be endlessly cynical about U.S. war-making and neoliberal economic imperialism, that’s not necessarily who we are. We are David Christian a bit, yes, but we are also the young women he abused and the three men who stood up to oppose him. As a poet, I’d like to think that I would’ve done as Micah Fletcher did, but I’m not sure I would’ve found the courage. In any case, there’s no need to indulge further tribal feelings here. I’m simply proud to be part of the same human race as Micah Fletcher.

Das Bild in dem Bild in dem Bild in dem Bild / The Picture in the Picture in the Picture in the Picture by Marlen Pelny

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One of the two stand-out films, along with Die Angst des Wolfs vor dem Wolf, from Lab P‘s 2014 series, this stop-motion animation by Catalina Giraldo Vélez is based on a poem by German author and musician Marlen Pelny, who also supplied the voiceover and music. The Vimeo description reads:

Closing the window. Shutting up yourself. Observing your memories. Drawers open for storing of the memories, we are constantly looking for, removing or archiving again. We open a book that might be the book of our lives. The image in the image in the image in the image is a metaphor for memory and the nostalgia of forgotten times.

For more information about the film, see its webpage.

Love’s River of Errors by Dave Richardson

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“The ocean, addiction, making a few collages to discover some kind of meaning…In memory…” Thus reads the description to this moving, personal video essay by artist Dave Richardson, which explores the collage-like nature of memory itself. It was featured at Atticus Review back on May 5, accompanied by an artist’s statement. Here’s a snippet:

For my own personal or collaborative creative work, I am always trying to lose a sense of control, to move beyond the expected visuals and to not overthink the final results, to leave some of the process evident, the rough edges. I agree with the graphic designer Paul Rand when he said, “To design is much more than simply to assemble, to order, or even to edit: it is to add value and meaning, to illuminate, to simplify, to clarify, to modify, to dignify, to dramatize, to persuade, and perhaps even to amuse. To design is to transform prose into poetry.”

Read the rest.

Kanten deiner Augen / Edges of your eyes by Yevgeniy Breyger

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“Gaps in the fog allow a look inside: A foreign environment, observing trees and falling birds.” Melissa Harms (A.K.A. MelissaMariella) directs and animates a text by Ukrainian-German poet Yevgeniy Breyger in this film from the Lab P project’s 2014 series. (The films were kept off the web for a couple of years, which is why I’m only getting around to sharing them now.)