Posts Tagged: The Poetry Storehouse

Love Poem in Thirds by Sam Rasnake

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She’s the expected question
whose answer is the world.

All the cosmic strangeness of love is on display in this kaleidoscopic remix by Marc Neys AKA Swoon of a Poetry Storehouse poem by Sam Rasnake. He says in a blog post,

As with many other videopoems of mine, the soundtrack came first; [SoundCloud link]
I used Nic Sebastian’s subtle reading in this track and added fading and fleeting piano notes in the mix.
The idea for the images for the video came through Jeff Mertz‘s ‘The City Without You‘.
His mirrored times-lapses full of movement and light expressed a certain longing. A feeling I also found in the poem and in Nic’s reading.

In the editing process I decided to leave out most parts where the cars and the traffic were too recognizable and focused on the ‘mandala-like’ figures of light.

Rasnake’s poem has proven to be an unusually fruitful source of inspiration for filmmakers. Nic Sebastian herself has made video remixes for the second and third parts, and Othniel Smith has made a video with the whole text. Click through to the Poetry Storehouse to watch all three.

Frangipani Grove by Cindy St. Onge

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Nic Sebastian has remixed a video of a horse and rider by Gregory Latham with a Poetry Storehouse poem about what endures after the death of planets by Cindy St. Onge. Somehow it works—for me, at any rate. I’m not crazy about the music (which is by David Mackey) and I think I might’ve preferred St. Onge’s own reading at the Storehouse to Sebastian’s. But the juxtaposition of images is strong and surprising enough to make up for that.

Death Meditation by A.M. Thompson

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This is the second of two films by Marie Craven using Poetry Storehouse poems by A.M. Thompson. (I also liked the first, Unavoidable Alchemy, but felt that it ended too abruptly.) Here she has used footage by Mollie Mills, guitar music by Josh Woodward and a voiceover by Nic Sebastian to create a surprisingly upbeat video remix. I’ll let viewers decide whether it succeeds, but I salute its boldness as an experiment in confounding expectations. (Read the text.)

Facing the Wall by Laura M Kaminski

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A Swoon film from five months ago that I somehow forgot to share until now. Laura M Kaminski‘s text (from The Poetry Storehouse) is meditative enough to make the slow revealing of lines work here. You’ll probably need to watch the video in HD in order to read them all, though. The poem appears in Kaminski’s 2014 collection last penny the sun (which I happen to own, and recommend highly).

Swoon (Marc Neys) shared some process notes on his blog, as he usually does. Here’s an excerpt:

This poem felt perfect for another film composition (rather than an audible videopoem), so I started with constructing a (longer) soundscape;

[listen on SoundCloud]

During my trip to Bristol I filmed some close ups and details of walls. Footage that fitted perfectly together with other recently filmed images. A search through IICADOM and Videoblocks completed the collection process.
After that came the fun part. Combining lines from the poem with the suitable footage, trying out different fonts and sizes for the text on screen, placement of words… It’s a puzzling way of editing.
I’m not only editing film anymore, I’m carefully trying to blend sound, image and text in one edit. It feels more like composing. It makes me rethink the way I worked (and still work) with audible videopoems.

Reading Arabic by Amy Miller

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A Moving Poems production. I uploaded this to Vimeo five months ago but never got around to sharing it here, side-tracked by my trip to Berlin for the ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival a week later. And then when two of Amy Miller’s poems got made into such superlative films by Lori Ersolmaz (“Backward Like a Ghost“) and Eduardo Yagüe (“I Was Grass“), I sort of forgot about my own, more primitive effort. But I was reminded of it again by the rising tide of anti-Arab racism and Islamophobia around the world. This videopoem with its hopefully not too obvious calligraphic touches was meant as a gesture of deep respect to the aural and visual qualities of a great literary civilization.

The text is from the Poetry Storehouse and was first published in Faultline. I used some Creative Commons-licensed footage from Equiloud (Uwe Schweer-Lambers), rearranged and turned black-and-white—the colors of ink and paper. I thought Miller’s understated reading from the MP3 file at the Storehouse could carry the video without any additional sounds, especially since the poem’s all about reading. Like the insects in Equiloud’s macro shots, literate human beings are thoroughly absorbed and enmeshed in the warp of text. (In Latin, text means “woven.”)

The writer, editor and videopoet Dustin Luke Nelson also tried his hand at a remix of Miller’s text. He took a very different approach:

It’s fascinating how much variation there can be in how we see or hear a given text.

The Society for the Prevention of Something by Dale Wisely

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Dale Wisely has acknowledged the Belgian filmmaker Marc Neys A.K.A. Swoon as one of the major influences on his recent foray into videopoetry. Here Swoon returns the favor with a video remix of one of Wisely’s poems from The Poetry Storehouse. He shared some process notes on his blog.

I found this poem perfect for a ‘filmcomposition with txt on screen’ type of video.
First  I made a re-edit of a track I made earlier to give me a nice timeframe and a ‘mood’ to work with.
For some reason I wanted animals (crawling, floating, …)  in this video. Browsing different footage providers gave a good collection of jellyfish, crows, a worm, insects,…

I combined these with shots of nature, agriculture, hunting (all very moody) and tried out what lines from the poem worked best with what image. I still think it’s a fun way of ‘composing’ a videopoem.

For Zachary by Mary Jo Balistreri

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A black-and-white film by Marc Neys AKA Swoon for a poem by Mary Jo Balistreri in The Poetry Storehouse. Marc posted some process notes to his blog:

A very beautiful poem. Heartfelt.
Nic Sebastian did a poignant reading that led to this track;

[listen on SoundCloud]

The visuals for this one are a combination of footage I shot during a hiking weekend last december (moody shots of trees, reflections, shadows…) alternated with the repetition of a boy falling (carefully edited out from a very lively action video by Justin Kauffman (under the Attribution license CC BY 3.0)

I think the ‘endless’ falling of the boy works well with the rest of the footage. Creating the right atmosphere for the poem and the soundtrack. There’s some comfort in this one I think.

A reminder, for any poets who might be reading this: the deadline for submissions to The Poetry Storehouse is coming up on February 28. After that it will transition to archive mode, adding new remixes (including videos) only up through September.

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