Poet: Richard Siken

The Way The Light Reflects by Richard Siken

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An author-made videopoem by the Tucson, Arizona-based poet Richard Siken. As with his first videopoem, Why, this does double-duty as a music video for the French singer Marianne Dissard, though this time it’s an instrumental: “Fondre”, off the album L’Abandon (2010), composed by Christian Ravaglioli. Click through to Vimeo for the full credits and the text of the poem.

Why by Richard Siken

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Long poems don’t always translate well into the film medium, but American poet Richard Siken seems to have hit upon a winning formula in his very first go at filmmaking, collaborating with the French-born singer Marianne Dissard, three of whose songs are heard in succession while the text of the poem appears on the screen. The description on Vimeo quotes her reaction:

I am deeply honored that Richard would use my music to accompany his stunning poem “Why”. Richard is by far my favorite American poet. This is his first film and, as a filmmaker myself, I am awed not only by this short work’s striking imagery but also by its rare ability to get to the essence of these three songs. As a lyricist, to no other writer than Richard would I trust my work to take a back seat but in doing so, I get gently but confidently pointed to its essence. I am beyond grateful to Richard for that rare poetic gift.

It’s always encouraging to see poets of Sikens’ stature taking up videopoetry, especially when the results are this ambitious.