Poet: Mark Strand

The Poem of the Spanish Poet by Mark Strand

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The latest release from Motionpoems, and the first of theirs, I think, to mix in some live footage of the poet alongside the animation (which is by Juan Delcan, who was responsible for the most popular of the Billy Collins animations, “The Dead.”). The text appears in Mark Strand’s latest book, Almost Invisible, which is a collection of prose pieces; the poem part of this video is the only lyric poem in the book.

By the way, if you join the Motionpoems free monthly email list, you get additional content which is not included on the website for some reason. This month’s installment expanded on the making of the video, and included some thoughts by Delcan and Strand:

For this motionpoem, filmmaker Juan Delcan shot live video of Mark Strand in his New York City apartment. He combined that video with drawings inspired by those of the Spanish poet Federico García Lorca. “I shot [Mark Strand] in 30 minutes and animated the piece in one afternoon,” Delcan told us. “Sometimes not having time to over-think it is the best.”

Delcan also spent time thinking about the purpose of the relatively new genre of poetry films. “I know there are a lot of purists that think that animating poetry is redundant and stops the reader from picturing its words in their own minds, and that the poem should be left alone. And in a lot of cases they may very well be right. But in the particular case of the poems I’ve worked on I feel they retrofeed each other, bringing it to a different genre.”

In response to the motionpoem, poet Mark Strand told us, “I liked the film’s simplicity, which is very much in keeping with the poem, or so it seems to me.”