The Meeting Ran Long by Eric Blanchard

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A new, text-on-screen-style videopoem by Australian artist Marie Craven using a text by American poet Eric Blanchard and sections of three hand-processed, experimental films. Craven recently shared some process notes as a part of a blog post about her recent videopoetry remixes.

After putting together a first videopoem last year based on the poetry of Eric Blanchard, I went exploring more of his writing to be found on the web. I was especially drawn to a prose poem called ‘The Meeting Ran Long‘, published in Literary Orphans. The piece created for me a sense of daydreaming in an empty room in a transitional moment of solitude, evoking a short stream from the unconscious mind. I started experimenting with how I might present this as text on screen and settled on simply deconstructing the written piece into component phrases that might reveal or give rise to new resonances in the unconscious spaces of the writing itself. Once I had transferred all the text to the screen, I cut the visual phrases to an experimental music piece by C.P. McDill, a sound artist whose work I have followed and admired since about 2008. The track, ‘Iced Coffee‘, was sourced from The Internet Archive, where it is freely available for remixing on a Creative Commons licence. For the images I went to Vimeo and did some searches on key words in their large pool of videos also available for remixing via Creative Commons. I discovered the work of the Mono No Aware group and selected three hand-processed films by Rachael Guma, Ashley Swinnerton and David Beard. Aside from being wonderful experimental film pieces in themselves, each flowed in a kinetic way that reminded me of the pace of thoughts, memories and images as they flow through a human brain. I put these together with a universal film leader from an old vaudeville show to come up with a first draft of the video. I then sent it to the poet to ask his permission to proceed with a final version. Eric kindly agreed. After a little reworking, this is the video that emerged.

Pearls by Chaucer Cameron

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An author-made videopoem by Chaucer Cameron that was sparked by an image in a Swoon videopoem. Pearls was recently featured at Atticus Review, accompanied by some process notes:

Symbolically, Pearls provides a vehicle for wisdom as well as providing a mirror in which to see ourselves, giving us insight into how we appear to others.

In a more literal sense, the “Mother” in the poem is on a mission to ‘find herself’ through some pearls that she thinks are hidden in the rocks. Her son, who is watching from down below, is trying desperately to communicate, to gain her attention, her love. In fact, he is trying to tell her that she already has pearls, if only she could see them.

The first line of the poem was inspired by a poetry-film on Moving Poems site, so it seemed appropriate to explore my text further through film. I sent the poem to Voiceover Artist and Broadcaster David Wartnaby. A few weeks later, I found exactly the right footage, music and sound and the poetry-film fell into place.

A Dream Within a Dream by Edgar Allan Poe

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Poe’s 1849 poem in a 2014 adaptation by Catalonian poet Josep Porcar with cinematography by Tomás Baltazar, a voiceover by Tom O’Bedlam and a Catalan translation by Txema Martínez Inglés in subtitles. The actor is Luis Carvalho.

Message4u by Cecelia Chapman and Jeff Crouch

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Artists Cecelia Chapman and Jeff Crouch have collaborated on a number of videos over the years, some of which — like this one — can be seen as videopoems. The soundtrack is by Halo Svevo, and Christa Hunter appears in the video along with footage from 1956 film On Guard! by IBM. There’s also a small folded book and CD.

Message4u is a video and folding book based on email conversations between myself and Jeff Crouch about knowledge, democracy, technology and the computer and oracle as repositories of knowledge and prediction.

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Noman’s Land Common by Robert Peake

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A new videopoem by Robert Peake (poem, concept) and Valerie Kampmeier (original music). With all the thousands of poetry videos I’ve watched over the years, I’ve never seen someone use footage shot through a kaleidoscope before—leave it to an endlessly inventive tech geek and poet like Peake to come up with it. I find the effect mesmerizing and an apt complement to the text. As usual, he’s posted the poem at his blog, along with some process notes:

With the tenth anniversary of the birth and death of our son James fast approaching, I find myself writing about the ongoing effects, including sudden and overpowering moments of grief. The text came first. I then shot time-lapse of clouds through an inexpensive toy kaleidoscope using a Raspberry Pi camera. I also shot real-time nature footage through the same kaleidoscope by holding it up to my smartphone camera. Valerie composed and performed the music. The title refers to a nearby patch of common land in North Hertfordshire that we frequent. One year, after extensive tilling, a field adjacent to the common erupted in red poppies, not unlike the no-man’s land of the First World War.

Ressacs / Backwashes by Jean Coulombe

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A gorgeous, author-made videopoem from Quebecois poet Jean Coulombe and videographer Gilbert Sévigny, “Réalisé pour le blogue de création poétique CLS Poésie.” The text (shown via type on screen) is only in French, but at my request, Coulombe sent along an English translation:

RESSACS / BACKWASHES

À pelleter devant soi / Shovelling forward
des phrases-chocs / shocking sentences
que personne n’écoute / that nobody listens to
à clamer dans le vide / shouting in the emptiness
notre stupeur de vivre / our amazement to live

on désapprend le feu / we unlearn fire
on tressaille sans faire d’ombres / we flinch without casting shadows

il ne faudrait surtout pas / we certainly should not
bloquer le trottoir / block the sidewalk
ramener les illusions / bring back illusions
trop près des braises / too close to the embers

CLS Poésie is a group literary blog after my own heart, and makes me wish I knew French. The three poets behind it even have a joint Blogger/Google account, which reads:

Les poètes Jean Coulombe, Alain Larose et Denis Samson ont ouvert cet espace , libre et sans prétention, en juin 2009, pour partager leur poésie sous toutes ses formes. Cette grande aventure a débuté à Saint-Benjamin dans la région des Etchemins au Québec.

The poets Jean Coulombe, Alain Samson and Denis Larose opened this space, free and unpretentious, in June 2009, to share their poetry in all its forms. This great adventure began in Saint-Benjamin Etchemins in the region in Québec. (via Google Translate)

Three poems from Árbol de Diana (Tree of Diana) by Alejandra Pizarnik

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I’ve been somewhat lax in posting new material here because of server instability at my webhost, which has resulted in frequent, short outages. I’m working to resolve this. In the meantime, here’s a video I made myself last week, which grew out of a translation project at Via Negativa, Poetry from the Other Americas. I posted some process notes there, too. The main thing I guess is that the footage of the construction site at sunset had come first, shot out the back bedroom window of the house where I’m staying in north London. The footage somehow made me think of these Pizarnik poems, which it seemed to me might form a unity with it. I shot the other footage purposefully for the video a few feet from the back door. Then I called on my friend Jean Morris for help in the voiceover, and drew on her superior understanding of Spanish to help polish my translations.

I’ve never seen a bilingual videopoem with both languages alternating in the soundtrack (though I’m sure someone must’ve done it before), so this was a bit of an experiment. I think it works—if it works—because the poems are short, and because each relates to the video imagery in a different way. But I suspect the same could be done with a single, longer poem if the languages were to alternate stanza by stanza. If anyone experiments further along these lines, do let me know.

Incidentally, if the post title seems a little familiar, that’s because the Spanish filmmaker Eduardo Yagüe has also made a film with three (different) poems from Pizarnik’s Árbol de Diana, Green Stones in the House of Night.