Texas-based poet Cynthia Cox drew on a couple of public-domain films for this piece, which she blogged about at mareymercy.
Finding the footage for this one was a bit of a bear, as it always is at the Internet Archives because their method of categorizing and organizing material doesn’t work with my brain. I found the video of Saunders dancing first, and “Romance Sentimentale” came along a few days later. Once I had those two pieces it was just a matter of splicing them together. Music was another matter, as I changed my mind twice when putting the visuals together, then two more times when I layered the poem audio over that.
Read the rest (includes the full text of the poem).
The footage is from an excruciatingly bad ‘scary’ film I found in the Prelinger Archives written by John Parker called “Daughter of Horror.” The howling hounds I downloaded from iTunes and ran through the iPhone VoiceChanger app, because on its own the howling sounded too low and kinda dopey. Honestly, there is a prison right behind my neighborhood, and when they run the dogs there’s a much higher, keening sort of sound that I couldn’t get VoiceChanger to duplicate, so I went with an effect called “Haunting.” Then I recorded my voice with VoiceChanger as well, using an echo effect mostly to try and disguise the pops I made on “prison” and “quiet” (didn’t really work, but I timed everything else about the reading out so well I chose not to re-record. I’m far from a perfectionist.)
Cynthia Cox used some public-domain footage from the Prelinger Archives, as she notes in a blog post:
The primary video appears to have been test shots for a dollar store commercial — I did not copy and repeat those zoom-out shots of the fishing lures, they were actually all filmed and strung together one after another in the original film, as were the numerous shots of the woman looking at — and this part made me fantastically happy — the exact same dress over & over. The party shots were worked in mostly to utilize the transitions provided by the movie clapboards, quite honestly; the incredibly phallic balloon-blowing contest was a bonus. But maybe that’s sharing too much.
Click through to read the rest of her notes, as well as the text of the poem.
Houston-based poet Cynthia Cox asked me to contribute a reading for her first videopoem (we’re blogging acquaintances). I was happy to comply. Cynthia noted in an email that she has only a point-and-shoot camera and the most basic of software (Windows Movie Maker), but I think the results show that it is possible to make a decent poetry video under such conditions, as long as one doesn’t try to get too elaborate. Having a good idea and being able to execute it effectively with the tools at hand trump everything else; there are so many professionally made poetry films that I would never share here because they are filled with visual or musical clichés.
Good decision to go with black and white, I thought, and the inclusion of children playing in the soundtrack seems apt. Cynthia told me that since she also wanted to post the video to Flickr, that helped enforce concision, since Flickr doesn’t allow videos longer than 90 seconds.