Poet: Marleen de Crée

Nadien / Afterwards by Marleen de Crée

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you will take your leave of this place
but this place will not take its leave
of you. it is an illness with a voice
that surrounds you. that voice was wet.

A poem and film that seem to speak to the situation of refugees and exiles in Europe and beyond. Flemish poet Marleen de Crée provided the text (from her forthcoming book Druppelpunt) and voiceover, and the English translation in the subtitles is by Willem Groenewegen. Concept, camera, editing and music are the work of Marc Neys A.K.A. Swoon, who notes:

It was the first part of the poem that gave me the idea of showing a person not being able to escape; from her past, from what she did, from her encounters. From who she is…

We have this papier-mâché bear in our house (it will also be used in another video, later this year) that was the perfect prop for this video.
Katrijn Clemer played the woman (and was also responsible for making the bear, years ago).
Once everything was shot (all in one afternoon), the editing process was easy. It all came together perfectly.

I’m very happy with how this one worked out and I consider it one of my best for this year…

This is Swoon’s sixth film made with a text by Marleen de Crée.

Blues by Marleen de Crée

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in the coincidence of a thought everything is dream
a smile like a sliver of moon lights the night

I can’t believe I haven’t already posted this haunting, atmospheric videopoem, considering that when Swoon (Marc Neys) originally uploaded it to Vimeo nine months ago, I commented that I’d be looking forward to an English-subtitled version and he swapped one in almost immediately, with a translation by the obviously very prompt Annmarie Sauer. It’s the latest in a series of films Swoon has made with texts by the Belgian poet Marleen de Crée, and as with his very first such effort — Nog Niet / Not Yet — he worked with the actress Katrijn Clemer, who also supplied the voiceover. He posted some process notes to his blog:

Marleen de Crée, one of my favourite Belgian poets has a new collection coming in March; Fluisterlicht (Uitgeveij P., 2014)

I consider myself lucky to know her (and her husband Jean) well enough to have received some of the poems of the new collection beforehand.
It’s always a joy to work with Marleen’s words. The intimate nature of her poems are perfect to create scapes and images for.
This time for ‘Blues’, I chose to do the filming myself again. Extra info from the writer about the new collection gave me a clear idea of what and how I wanted to do this one.

As always I found Katrijn Clemer to be and have the perfect voice to read Marleen’s poetry.
Around her reading I created this track: [listen on SoundCloud]

[…]

I wanted to create the atmosphere of long nights full of words and mystery… houses with a soul, eerie and warm at the same time… as a child I loved wandering around the house, pretending to be alone…listening to the sounds around me…
For that reason I chose candlelight as the only lighting source of the video. The love for words that Marleen received in her childhood reflects in this video.

Cirkel / Circle: 11 Belgian poets

A filmpoem by Swoon (Marc Neys) incorporating 11 poems by 11 different Belgian writers, telling a single story of life, lust, love and loss. The poems range in style from experimental to formal verse, all ably translated by Willem Groenewegen. I had the pleasure of seeing this at ZEBRA with an introduction by the filmmaker, having first viewed it online more than a year ago when Marc briefly made it public. It’s now been fully released to the web after nearly two years of festival screenings.

I don’t know if there is ever an ideal day of the week to post a 20-minute poetry video, but website visitor stats do suggest that Monday is a big day for procrastination on the job. So grab a beverage, put on your headphones and hit the play button. What better way to ease into the week than with a surreal poetry film to alter your consciousness?

Here are the poems that make up the film:

  1. “Meer tijd” (More Time) by Jan Lauwereyns
  2. “Tel Aviv” by Michaël Vandebril
  3. “Over de afstand tussen twee vogels (III)” (On the Distance between Two Birds (III)) by Lies van Gasse
  4. “Het komt” (It Will Come) by Stefan Hertmans
  5. “!!!” by Xavier Roelens
  6. “Krop” (Crop) by Leonard Nolens
  7. “Of wel” (Or Will It) by Marleen de Crée
  8. “Een hele kleine oorlog” (That Little War) by Yannick Dangre
  9. “De reu rouwt, de mens steelt” (The Hound Mourns and People Steal) by Delphine Lecompte
  10. “Dertien vragen en geen antwoord” (Thirteen Questions Without An Answer) by Stijn Vranken
  11. “Onvoltooid” (Unfinished) by Charles Ducal

The poems were recorded by three well-known Flemish actors: Vic De Wachter (poems 1, 6, 7, 8), Michaël Pas (poems 2, 4, 10, 11) and Karlijn Sileghem (poems 3, 5, 9). The actors are Katrijn Clemer, Mathieu Courtois, and Rommel the cat. (“Rommel” means “clutter” in Dutch; it has nothing to do with the Nazi general.) The music is by Hanklebury, Lunova Labs, and Swoon. Click through to Vimeo for the rest of the credits, not to mention the extensive list of screenings.

Faites vos jeux by Marleen de Crée

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Update 7/19/12: Swoon informs me that there’s a volume of Marleen de Crée poetry translated into English by Annmarie Sauer due out later this year. And note that Swoon’s two earlier subtitled films for de Crée poems have been re-done with Sauer’s translations.

Marleen de Crée is one of Belgium’s most prominent living poets, with 15 poetry collections and a number of major prizes to her name. Swoon, of course, is without a doubt the most active maker of videopoems in Belgium; this is his third video for a de Crée poem, all three available in two versions: with subtitles and without. The recitation here is by Katrijn Clemer, and the English translation is by Annmarie Sauer.

Most of the footage comes from a 1942 home movie in the Prelinger archive of ephemeral films. I love seeing videopoets make use of this kind of material.

Of Wel (or shall it) by Marleen de Crée

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Update July 2012: Now with a new translation by Annmarie Sauer.

The second of the two Marleen de Crée poems translated and voiced by Arlekeno Anselmo for a film by Swoon (see yesterday’s post for background on the poet).

Nog Niet / Not Yet by Marleen de Crée

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Update, July 2012: Now with a new translation by Annmarie Sauer and credit for voice and concept to Katrijn Clemer.

This is the first of two new videopoems I’ll be sharing for work by a prominent Belgian poet. Marleen de Crée has published 15 poetry collections to date, garnering various prizes (the Maurice Gilliam Award, the August Beernaert Prize of the Royal Academy of Dutch Language and Literature, and the prize of the Flemish Poetry Day). She’s also a visual artist who works in various media, and has had many individual and group exhibitions in Belgium and the Netherlands from 1964 to the present.

This information came via email from Swoon, the filmmaker here in collaboration with Arlekeno Anselmo, whom he credits with “Voice, idea & face” — and, critically, the translation. Those who know Dutch and prefer it without subtitles can watch the original version on Vimeo. As Swoon explained in his email: “For her last book ‘Het is niet de lava’ (It’s not the lava) I made 2 videopoems with a dutchspeaking voice. For a video-festival (FAFF 2011) I made 2 versions with subtitles (I don’t know if our translations do the poem any justice, but the festival prefered subtitles, so…)”