A unique twist on the performance poetry video genre from my new favorite channel on Vimeo, Tootight Lautrec’s This Be the Verse.
Tootight Lautrec, the Drag Laureate of the sub-sub-sub basement at PS 75 The Emily Dickinson School, brings you poetry–often as a drag queen lip-sync from archival recordings of poets–This Be The Verse: Poetry for Adults.
This wouldn’t work if Lautrec weren’t very, very good at lip-syncing. In all the years I’ve been combing YouTube and Vimeo for poetry videos, I can’t remember anyone taking this approach before, let alone pulling it off with such panache.
This is Deceit by Ilhan Alyanak, who describes it on Vimeo as “pretty images for [a] sad poem about lies”. No credits are supplied, but I’m guessing that the recitation is by Alyanak herself, a “D.C based teen with a good camera and an appreciation for pretty things, people and places”. I think though that the images here go well beyond the merely pretty—it’s a striking interpretation of Plath’s poem.
This film by Maggie Bailey blends interpretative dance with snippets of a 1961 interview with Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes. Here’s the description from Vimeo:
An Interview stems from a desire to explore the life of Sylvia Plath. This short film analyzes Plath’s feelings about her relationship with her husband, daily life, and raising her children, through dance and gesture work, paired with excerpts of an interview with Plath and her husband, Ted Hughes. Though she says quite the opposite in this interview, we can infer that she feels a loss of identity and purpose in life, in the midst of caring for a new baby. The year of the interview is 1961, two years prior to Plath’s suicide. Directed & filmed by Maggie Bailey. Edited by Maggie Bailey and Tyler Rubin. Performed by Heather Bybee. Music by Michael Wall. Interview with Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes.
Contusion was one of the first poems I wanted to make a video for (5-6 years ago) but I never got a satisfying result out of the process. This time tried a film composition with text on screen and I had a clear idea what kind of images to use. […]
I composed a track especially for this project. Called it ‘Don’t look at me’ (and kept the appropriate title for the film composition) [Bandcamp link].
I had to re-edit the length of the composition to the footage I had gathered. Contusion is a rather short poem (compared to some of her other works).
A lot of night and dusk. Dim images. I especially wanted the footage of a swimming lake (deserted and empty) by Bart van der Gaag. Also some snow and winter footage by Jan Eerala, stuff filmed by me and a few pieces of Videoblocks. I composed all the footage to the lines of the poem (using a small and almost unreadable font and placement of the text by times) and the pace and feel of the soundtrack. I also graded some of the footage for an even darker feel.
As I said before; I’m happy with this one.
Play full screen (and preferably with headphones!)
This is Confessions of a Lacking Pursuit,
Directed, choreographed & edited by Maggie Bailey. Filmed by Paul Nguyen. Performed by Heather Bybee. Sylvia Plath’s recitation of her poem “The Applicant.” Music by Shane Carruth.
Maggie Bailey is majoring in Theatre/Theatre Arts Management and Dance, concentrating in Performance and Choreography, at College of Charleston, according to LinkedIn. Confessions of a Lacking Pursuit was her senior project.
Plath’s poem, translated into Dutch by Lucienne Stassaert, is read by Swoon (Marc Neys) as part of the soundtrack for this impressionistic new film (for which he has helpfully also supplied English subtitling). “It’s dark, anything but clear (like a mirror), full of fleeting spirits,” he writes.
Marc seems to be going through an unusually productive period right now, so I may be posting two Swoon videopoems a week until I catch up.
This is Little Poppies, a student work by Libby Parfitt and Paris Daley, “based on the naturalistic sculpture and black and white photography of Richard Long.”