Sonnet 29 by William Shakespeare

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“In disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes,” a reincarnated Bard finds inspiration outside the Old Town Bar at Union Square, Manhattan. John Hayden directed this film for The Sonnet Project. Tom Degnan is the lead actor.

The background information on the sonnet’s page at the website includes this interesting tidbit:

The feeling of uselessness, outcasting, and disgrace in this poem is thought to be related to the 1592 closing of London playhouses as [a] result of an outbreak of the plague, causing Shakespeare and other actors to live with small wages, and be looked upon as filthy by town society.

Also, click the “actor” tab there for more information about Degnan than either IMdB or Wikipedia currently provide.

Needless to say, if Shakespeare were alive today, he’d be writing screenplays for television, and probably penning rap lyrics in his spare time.

I Would Like to Go On A Bike Ride by Denise Newman

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A minimalist, author-made videopoem:

Images and initial sound by Denise Newman
Singing by Dame Joan Sutherland “Rose Softly Blooming” from the opera Zemira and Azor

Newman, who also teaches college undergraduates, has somehow managed to get snails to collaborate on videopoems. I asked her how she did it, and she replied:

Aren’t those snails talented? No training and it only took one shot. I worked with other snails after that but had to become a “snail whisperer” to get them to cooperate.

555 by Ross Sutherland

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This is #29 in Ross Sutherland‘s “30 Videos/30 Poems” digital residency at The Poetry School. His description at Vimeo reads:

The relationship between screens and metaphor seemed like a good way to bring this residency towards a close.

How does TV like to portray itself? Short answer: usually as an oracle of some kind, or as a device to show a character’s inner thoughts. It’s right up there with “tortured protagonist looks in a cracked mirror.”

Although I know I’ve seen it a hundred times, these scenes are hard things to seek out on the web. If anyone can name any more, please comment below! I’d like to make a super-cut someday.

(Comment at Vimeo, not here, if you have suggestions for Ross.)

I wonder if anyone’s ever used footage of people watching videopoetry in a videopoem? Now that would be meta!

Y sonó la alarma / And the alarm rang by Lilián Pallares

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Columbian poet Lilián Pallares is an actress with considerable charisma in this entertaining film-poem by New Zealand director Charles Olsen (Antena Blue). The use of silent-movie-style intertitles for Pallares’ text necessitates separate videos for the Spanish and English versions, but it’s worth it, I think, for the way it accentuates the manic, comic style. Spanish composer and pianist Pablo Rubén Maldonado contributed an original composition for the soundtrack.

One Story by Cristina Norcross

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This Swoon (Marc Neys) film for a Poetry Storehouse poem by Cristina Norcross remixes footage from kenji kawasawa and Colby Moore. Swoon’s blog post about the film includes an interesting reaction from the poet:

Our lives are separate, yet we are bonded – part of an organic whole. Perhaps we are becoming more and more isolated. I would like to believe that there is hope for us to find common ground – to rediscover the beauty of our human connection.

When I first sat down to write the poem, “One Story,” I was actually in the middle of watching Charlie Kaufman’s film, Synecdoche, New York (2008), with Philip Seymour Hoffman.

The dialogue and concept of the film struck a chord with me, and I was unable to wait until the end, to start writing down thoughts. I was transfixed by the notion of how our separateness and isolation is actually a dream.

We are all one. We are all part of the same story. From this seed, I fleshed out images of people I knew or people I had seen on the street. The actress learning her lines on a threadbare couch, sitting on hope, was (and still is) me and my fellow poet, artist, songwriter friends. We are all dreaming about having our ideas take shape – having them take flight.

When I found out that Marc Neys was developing a video remix for my poem, I was quite excited to see how he would interpret the words through the lens of film, images, and music. From the first glimpse, I was captivated by the balloons and mesmerized by the atmospheric sounds and voices underneath the recording of my poem. Each time I view the film, I see more details that have meaning for me. Marc truly captures the bustling, city feeling of many individuals sharing space. He also skillfully conveys how each person is unique. Each balloon finds its own direction, and yet at the end, the balloons form concentric circles. There is a never-ending string that connects us. We belong to one another. You are those feet drifting back and forth in the hammock. You are the father holding a toddler on your shoulders. These images are a glimpse and a gift. Even the very end of the film leaves an echo of how we connect: “What is your name? Mary? That is beautiful. That is a beautiful name.”

Sometimes the Water by Kallie Falandays

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Marie Craven remixed some surreal footage by Simone Mogliè and Fernanda Veron, music by Adrian Carter, and Nic S.‘s reading of a poem by Kallie Falandays at the Poetry Storehouse. (Nic has also made her own video for the poem.) I’m especially impressed by the bold choice of music. It shocked me at first, but I eventually came to feel that it provides just the right contrast for the dream-like imagery, throwing it and the voiceover into high relief. I can’t tell you how many videos I’ve chosen not to share here just because the music struck me as too stale or predictable.

Noble Savage Learns To Tweet by LeAnne Howe

A videopoem by Choctaw novelist and poet LeAnne Howe and director R. Vincent Moniz, Jr., with artwork and animation by Jonathan Thunder. Though it may seem tailor-made for the film, like Heid Erdrich’s “Pre-Occupied” the poem originally appeared in text form at 99 Poems for the 99%, where the author included these notes:

1. Dutch settlers built the ‘Wall path’ sometime around 1692 to keep out the Indians. In other words it was built for white settlers to keep out undesirables to protect developing commerce. According to Hermes-Press.com, the Wall path “joined the banks of the East River with those of the Hudson River on the west.” Wall path later named Wall Street. Hence the poem’s narrator, Noblesavage, tweets irony.

2. “Indian agent” is a double entendre and can be read as Noblesavage’s agent, authorized to act on his behalf for acting roles in Hollywood westerns; or as an individual authorized to interact with American Indians authorized on behalf of the federal government.

3. “Ford and Cameron” refer to Hollywood film directors John Ford and James Cameron.

4. #AI.com is a site for “artificial intelligence.” Another irony, Noblesavage is not real, a creation of Hollywood imagemakers.