This is the final film version of The Love of the Sun, from five poems out of Matt Hetherington’s poetry collection of the same name. The video had its first presentation as a live audiovisual performance at the Ó Bhéal Winter Warmer Poetry Festival in Cork, Ireland in late November 2019. Thanks to festival director, Paul Casey, and the Arts Council of Ireland, I was able to be there in person. I traveled from Australia with Adelaide actor, Claudia La Rose-Bell, also a guest of the festival. Claudia gave a live reading of three of Matt’s poems in rhythm with the images on the screen, and with a pre-recorded music soundtrack by Steve Kelly (aka Douglas Deep, Manfred Hamil). This included Matt’s voice speaking two of his poems. After the brilliant festival in Cork, Claudia and I then traveled to other places in Europe. We presented The Love of the Sun live again, at the video poetry festival in Athens. Directing live audiovisual performance was a first for me. Happily, it went smoothly and was well received.
Some gorgeous new work from Australian poetry-film collaborators Marie Craven (video concept, edit, effects) and Matt Hetherington (poem and voice), with music by Masonik and film sourced from Mono No Aware. Marie’s process notes (with links added):
‘Light Ghazal’ is the third video collaboration with poet, Matt Hetherington. From across the world, Dave Bonta put us in email contact for the first of these, ‘Orphanage‘. Since then Matt, who lives not far from me here in Australia, has been coming up this way to meet and collaborate in person. This process resulted in the second piece, ‘Everything sleeps but the night‘, and now this latest. It’s kind of radical for me to collaborate in the flesh these days, as most of my collaborations for the past decade, video and music alike, have been net-based. I welcome this recent development. For the soundtrack I selected ‘Inna Sky’ from the ‘Sutol’ album by Fremantle-based Masonik, whose sounds I have also worked with before in my poetry videos. The source footage for the image track is from Mono No Aware in New York, whose films are available on Creative Commons licence at Vimeo. I selected the sections of footage most fitting for this new video and created two layers on top of each other. This was so I could add dimensionality and fx to bring out the hand-processed film textures, as well as bring into sharper presence the ghostly, underlying images on the original film. I love hand-processed film. It seems to emphasise the direct chemical expression of light hitting celluloid and focus us on the materiality of that process. Thus the footage seemed especially relevant to the poem here, which is all about light.
I’m pleased by my own small role in making this happen as managing editor of qarrtsiluni, where the poem first appeared in text form a month ago as the final piece in our Imitation issue, and as compiler of the podcast from which Swoon took the recording of Australian poet Matt Hetherington reading his poem. As we say in the note there, it was “inspired by the poetry of Ian McBryde, particularly his book of one-line poems, Slivers (Melbourne: Flat Chat Press, 2005).”
Swoon blogged some process notes:
I liked the poem and, even more so, his great reading of it for the podcast.
(People who follow my work know how important I think a good reading or voice is for a good videopoem)
I wanted to keep the pauses he made in his reading, so I didn’t change a thing.
Just added the right track […] and went on a search for the right footage or images. I needed empty houses and remembered a great video I once saw by someone who calls himself Tschmite. He gave me his consent to use footage of it.
I added some of my own recordings and also found amazing images in a series of films made by Graham Gilmore about Tsjernobyl.
I edited all I wanted and needed for the right atmosphere. Gave the words by Matt, the space and the room they needed to unfold themselves.
(Incidentally, I wish more videopoem/filmpoem makers would post such detailed descriptions of their process. It’s really helpful for those of us who are trying to learn the craft.)