Poet: e.e. cummings

somewhere i have never travelled,gladly beyond by e.e. cummings

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“People and places from a recent trip to San Diego, CA,” says documentary photojournalist and filmmaker Kristyn Ulanday in the description at Vimeo. I think she rather understates the awesomeness of this videopoem. (For the text of the poem, see Poets.org.)

No. XLII by e. e. cummings

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Another text-only videopoem, but today with a soundtrack. I’m not crazy about the font-choice — for some reason, I have trouble seeing a Cummings poem in anything but a typewriter font — but otherwise this strikes me as a highly successful re-imagining of the text.

Nic S. blogged about “using text vs voice in videopoems” the other day, and it’s sparked an interesting discussion in the comments, with videopoetry pioneer Tom Konyves weighing in.

Poem by e. e. cummings (“Buffalo Bill’s defunct”)

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“An e.e. cummings poem I interpreted for my film production class. Shot on a dvx100b. Cut on Final Cut Pro,” says Jean-Paul Huang. Somewhat melodramatic, but so’s the poem. (An animation of the same poem by a different filmmaker that I posted a couple months ago has been removed from Vimeo.)

e.e. cummings in an ad for Sonic audiobooks

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If there’s a non-controversial way to use a classic poem in a commercial, this might be it. The line from cummings (a fragment of #35 from 100 Selected Poems) is read and “un-read” by four very different voices in a way meant to dramatize the variations in a reading voice, unlining the audiobook publisher’s slogan: “Giving literature a personality.” My immediate reaction is, “Wow. There’s a market for audio books of poetry!?” Since the product being advertised here is so close to the poet’s own characteristic production, the use of his words seems entirely appropriate. And freed from the kind of angst evoked by the Levi’s Whitman ads, we can see that in fact the ingredients of a successful short videopoem — simplicity, quirk, surprise — are not too different from the ingredients of a successful television spot.