A new Moving Poems production, remixing Vallejo’s classic poem prognosticating his own death with time-lapse photography and Creative Commons-licensed music (from Magna Ingress). For the translation, I enlisted the help of some friends with better Spanish than mine: Jean Morris and Natalie d’Arbeloff, among others, on the Poetry from the Other Americas Facebook group. Another member of the group, the Spanish filmmaker and actor Eduardo Yagüe, was kind enough to supply the voiceover.
Shockingly, this is the first Vallejo poem on Moving Poems. I can’t think of any other Latin American poet of his stature whom I’ve so neglected. I did make one other video for a poem of his some years ago, but I guess I must’ve decided it wasn’t quite up to snuff.
Directed by Jamil McGinnis and Pat Heywood, Word: Collected Poetry is an exemplary poetry-film anthology that conveys a real sense of the unique character of a vital, passionate community of poets. Jamil and Pat call it
A collection of spoken word poems brought to life, adapted from the work of four poets living in New York City.
“Untitled” by Makayla Posley (0:09)
“band-aids & other temporary healings” by Trace DePass (4:01)
“From the Inside” by Nkosi Nkululeko (7:23)
“Rule #1” by Esther Aloba (11:09)
Essentially, the film is a work of collected poems brought to life. The featured poems’ authors are young poets from New York City. We wanted the film to feel as if someone had wandered into a bookstore and began flipping through a book of poems. […] It’s essentially an extension of the Motionpoem we did (but produced independently of them).
We partnered with a nonprofit called Urban Word NYC, who introduced us to the poets. We wanted to dive into the same themes and ideas that their poetry does, so naturally, collaborating closely with the poets was an essential part of the process. We didn’t want to assume anything about their experiences, but rather create a visual space to explore them further. We raised these questions about the school-to-prison pipeline, the problematic side of creative expression, and queerness, amongst others because they did. They gave us that space.
The film premiered online in Booooooom, which noted that “The film’s production was entirely crowdfunded through Kickstarter, raising over $15,000 through nearly 200 donations in 30 days.” Jamil and Pat told them that
Adapting poetry to film was a lot closer to putting together a thematic puzzle than it is building any kind of narrative. All sorts of space for us as filmmakers opened up to explore their language. Juxtaposing images, observing, asking questions rather than giving answers. We wanted a film that was challenging and abstract, but at the same time, presented moments of meditation.
Click through for photos from the shooting of the film as well as for the full, extensive credits.
A haunting Swedish poem brought to life by the German director Patrick Müller. Here’s the English portion of his Vimeo description:
SIGH, RUSHES, SIGH: In his tale of passionate love and heartbreaking grief, Swedish poet Gustaf Fröding (1860–1911) explains the drowning of the beautiful Ingalill. The words find its counterpart in black and white images, shot with an old 16mm film camera.
Film by Patrick Müller. Germany, 2018, 3 Min, 16mm.
Poem: Gustaf Fröding, Narrator: Klaus-Rüdiger Utschick, Camera: Krasnogorsk 3, Film stock: Fomapan R100, Processing: Andec Filmtechnik, Telecine 4K: Ochoypico, Madrid. Filmed at Rügen, 2018.
There was a lively discussion on the Poetry Film Live Facebook group the other day about whether and when it’s appropriate to use illustration in a poetry film. I think this film strikes the perfect balance between illustration (it wouldn’t have made sense not to begin and end with rushes on a lake shore) and suggestion (the girl’s drowning is only briefly hinted at in the visuals). The film with its black-and-white, 16mm graininess not only conveys but intensifies the melancholy mood of the text. Such illustration as it includes doesn’t tame or trivialize the poem but contributes to an over-all ostranenie.
A brilliant remix by Miss Muffet AKA Lisa Seidenberg. The Vimeo description:
A poetry film re-invents a stylised text by author Gertrude Stein as a reflection on the current national zeitgeist using visuals from Charlottesville and other assorted Americana.