Poet: Stephen Dunn

The Imagined by Stephen Dunn

Poet: | Nationality: | Filmmaker:

A terrific animated film by Matt Craig for Motionpoems, influenced by “a lot of really early animation films,” as he told interviewer Michael Dechane.

I knew I wanted to stay away from illustrating the words or being too literal with the imagery. I wanted to create something that would be its own thing but would be a perfect companion to the poem. I spent a lot of time making these decisions before I got into the work, and I’m glad I did it that way. I was able to steer my own direction because of the rules I had laid out for myself early on.

MOPO: What are some of the stylistic influences you saw coming to bear on the film?

CRAIG: I had been watching a lot of really early animation films, one in particular called “The Idea” by Berthold Bartosch. It was based on a woodcut graphic novel by Frans Masereel. I had been watching that kind of work coming into this project. When I start a project I tend to pull a lot of artwork, paintings and things that I can respond to in some way. That helps me get towards ideas I like.

Do read the whole interview; Craig makes a lot of interesting points. And there’s an interview with Stephen Dunn on the same page which is also worth checking out. The last question concerns the film:

MOPO: I’m wondering about the whole idea of taking a poem and making a short film out of it, and this sort of hybrid art that Motionpoems is pioneering. Is presenting a work in a different medium akin to the difficulty of linguistic translation in your opinion? What would you share with us about why you consented to be a part of this Motionpoems season and growing body of art — what were you hoping or wanting?

DUNN: I have no expectations. My poem itself is a translation of experience. I would hope that you all would try to be true to the poem’s spirit and tone, but I also know that another medium will interpret in ways I can’t foresee.

Bryan Hanna composed the score.