Posts Tagged: Poetry Society

I Stop Wearing the Mini-skirt, 1972 by Patricia Wooldridge

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Edinburgh-based video producer Alicja Pawluczuk made this film under commission by Filmpoem and Felix Poetry Festival in association with the Poetry Society; the text by Patricia Wooldridge, read by the author, is another one of the commended poems from the 2013 National Poetry Competition. One of the judges, Jane Yeh, had this to say about the poem:

The switchbacks and disjunctions of this look back at the past give it a paradoxically contemporary style; as a portrait of the artist as a young woman, it feels both authentic and fresh. The audacious last stanza is a triumph of brevity and art, spinning off into multiple directions while drawing the poem together into a memorable finish.

Be sure to view all the National Poetry Competition 2013 Filmpoems at the Poetry Society website.

Hare by Carolyn Jess-Cooke

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Irish poet, writer and visual artist Melissa Diem’s translation into film of a piece by the Belfast-based poet Carolyn Jess-Cooke, another of the commended poems from the 2013 National Poetry Competition. One of the judges, Julia Copus, said of it:

The carefully controlled domestic setting of this poem is held in a tense balance with the uncontrollable wildness of the outside world. Here, a common disquiet – centring on the fragility of a newly-created life – is freshly captured by the surprising image of a hare, that could at any moment go bounding off for good over the night fields.

The Poetry Society and Alastair Cook’s Filmpoem project deserve commendations of their own for enabling such inspired poetic collaborations as this.

Birdfall by Danica Ognjenovic

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Adele Myers’ filmpoem for a poem by the Yorkshire-based poet Danica Ognjenovic is one of a number of commended poems from the Poetry Society’s 2013 National Poetry Competition, all of which have now been released in film interpretations following their debut at the Filmpoem Festival in Antwerp last weekend. Matthew Sweeney, one of the competition judges, had this to say about the poem:

The poets of Eastern Europe perfected a spare, imagistic kind of writing that left the reader to complete the poem. All was suggested, nothing was spelt out, no explanations were given. So is it with this little poem. The narrator recounts that after three hours at sea, birds fall onto their boat, rest awhile, then take off again. There’s not much information given, but it’s enough to suggest the strangeness and fragility of life.

Crepuscule with Nellie (Take Six) by Ken Taylor

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It’s been three years since Ginetta Correli (Marshmallow Press Productions) last made a filmpoem; it’s good to see more work from her. This one was created for the Poetry Society to be featured at the Filmpoem Festival in Antwerp Belgium, June 14, 2014. American poet and artist Ken Taylor won a commendation for this poem from the Poetry Society’s National Poetry Competition 2013 (read the text on their website). His reading is included in the soundtrack.

Bernard and Cerinthe by Linda France

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This is the third of the three films from Filmpoem for winners of last year’s National Poetry Competition in the U.K.

Bernard and Cerinthe is a film by Alastair Cook for Linda France’s first placed poem in the National Poetry Competition 2013, commissioned by Filmpoem and Felix Poetry Festival in association with the Poetry Society.

From the National Poetry Competition judges: ‘This strange narrative of a man being seduced by a plant charmed the judges with its vivid imagery and linguistic wit. Its precisely honed couplets move from elegant description (‘the bruise of bracts, petals, purple // shrimps’) to a tragicomic climax, in which our hero finds himself ‘a buffoon in front of a saloon honey / high-kicking the can-can. Can’t-can’t’. Truly imaginative and richly musical, ‘Bernard and Cerinthe’ is as much a pleasure to read on the page as it is on the tongue, and as such was the unanimous choice of the judges for first place in this year’s National Poetry Competition.’ {Jane Yeh}

Linda France is from the northeast of England, and has published seven collections of poetry. See the story in the Guardian, “Linda France wins National Poetry Competition with erotic botany story,” as well as the page at the Poetry Society website, which includes the text of the poem and this bit of back-story:

On what inspired the poem, Linda said: ‘I remember very particularly the day I wrote this poem, actually. I went to visit a friend of mine who has the most beautiful garden. It was the end of August and there was a plant I’d never seen before: Cerinthe major ‘Purpurascens’, and I was just astonished by it. It’s a very intense blue and the leaves are a silvery green… they’re quite thick, almost waxy, fleshy. That’s one of the things I’m drawn to about plants, they express this tremendous “Otherness”, but they just stay there and let you respond to them, unlike a bird or animal that disappears. A plant remains for you to give your attention to. I love that. I got absorbed in this flower and my sense was that it was very sexy, as many of them are. Cerinthe conceals and reveals at the same time, it has a flirtatiousness about it that’s very seductive. I don’t know how Bernard came into the story, but faced with this out-and-out flirt of a plant, he doesn’t know what to do. So that’s how it happened, really. Obviously it didn’t all come fully formed, but it arose from looking at the flower.’

Among Barmaids by Paula Bohince

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American poet Paula Bohince took second prize in the 2013 National Poetry Competition from the U.K.’s Poetry Society with “Among Barmaids,” interpreted elegantly by filmmaker Idil Sukan in a commission by Filmpoem and Felix Poetry Festival.

From the National Poetry Competition judges: ‘There was a metal door that took both hands/ of a strong man to open’ – so begins this taut, impressive poem, going on to say that the barmaids did this daily, then ruled benignly the enclosed world ‘sealed in submarine darkness’ behind the door. With remarkable economy, the poem manages to construct an extremely detailed picture of the rituals of the bar-room, the lives of the barmaids – whose tattooed skin bears the history of ex-lovers and drugged-out children – and the lives of the drinkers ‘who wore their trade on their fingers – coal or dirt or grease’, and who played songs on the jukebox about cheating women. The voice of the poem speaks in the first person plural, like a Greek chorus. Perhaps this is what lends the poem its power – the directness of the choral tone, the precision of the detail, the staccato delivery. The choral voice delivers an incantation of great warmth in a cold place. This is brought home in the final image of the children brought to the bar by the men, when their wives needed peace, to be spun on a make-believe dance-floor by the ministering barmaids, trying to turn ‘despair into a party’. {Matthew Sweeney}

For the text of the poem, see the Poetry Society website.

Love on a Night Like This by Josephine Abbott

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A Kate Sweeney film, commissioned by Filmpoem and the Felix Poetry Festival in association with the Poetry Society. This is one of three films for the winners of the Poetry Society’s National Poetry Competition 2013.

From the National Poetry Competition judges: ‘This poem, built on motion, powerfully presents the balancing act of loving another human being. It depicts both the simplicity and enormity of that act, and our powerlessness in the face it, reduced as we are to “sea-birds in the teeth of a gale.” We loved the atmosphere and detail – that plastic pot skittering on a path, birds “made helpless as plastic bags”… This is a poem in which the personal and universal, the minute and the enormous, do more than co-exist: they are one and the same thing.’ {Julia Copus}

For a bio of Josephine Abbott and the text of the poem, see the Poetry Society website.

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