I’ll admit it: I’m a sucker for single-shot videopoems. The text (by Neil Flatman, from The Poetry Storehouse) could so easily have elicited something melodramatic. The above remix is by Charles Musser, with music by Youngest Daughter. Nic Sebastian also did a remix of the poem:
Still fairly low-key. I like the use of text-on-screen. The soundtrack is more subdued, with a jazz piano ballad by Fabric.
Australian filmmaker Marie Craven demonstrates one way to get away with out-right illustration in a videopoem. Had she used footage of pinball games in a poem that references pinball, it would’ve seemed merely redundant, I think. But instead she hit upon the idea of using colorful still images (by Donald Bell) alternating with dark, silent-film-like title cards bearing the lines of the poem. Cut these images in time with up-tempo, pinball-esque music by CIRC, and rather than simply depicting a game of pinball, the video actually enacts or reproduces the effect of a highly kinetic ball careening around in an inert cabinet. “The whole thing / goes tilt.” And the poem is raised to a new level, I think.
Slumber has always smelled of vanilla,
yeast and semolina.
Doped up to doze,
the flesh augments; hunger
outsizes the sun
into a spectacle darkness might swallow.
Nic Sebastian‘s inspired remix of a poem by Sarah Sloat at The Poetry Storehouse with some gorgeous stock footage and music by David Mackey. I loved this when I first saw it two months ago, but somehow it never made it into the posting queue, which is especially surprising considering that Sloat is one of my favorite contemporary poets.
Spanish director Eduardo Yagüe used a still image of Camille Claudel (“Camille Claudel à 20 ans” by César D.R.) as well as his own footage and music by Four Hands Project in this film of a poem by Kathleen Kirk from the Poetry Storehouse. The poem also appears in Kirk’s chapbook, Interior Sculpture: poems in the voice of Camille Claudel (Dancing Girl Press, 2014).
Yagüe has made not one, but two films based on this poem. They couldn’t be more different. Here’s the other one:
The translation is Yagüe’s own. The music this time is by archiv ev noise. Broken Figure was filmed in October 2014 in Stockholm, while Figura Rota was filmed the following month in Madrid. I wonder to what extent the different locations and languages may have helped produce such divergent results. But perhaps the real marvel is how the two films nevertheless exist in dialogue with each other in something approaching an apotheosis of translation.
The poet and reader here, Kallie Falandays, runs Tell Tell Poetry, a site dedicated to “making poetry fun again,” and true to form, this is a fun piece — and a bit of a departure for Swoon (Marc Neys), both in the high-energy style of the reading and the way it’s incorporated into the film. As he says in a recent blog post,
I found the poem at The Poetry Storehouse, but it was Kallie Falandays’ jagged reading that made me pick this up.
I first created a soundtrack where her reading could be the spiky centerpiece. [Listen on SoundCloud.]
The visuals for this one came fairly easy. A string of footage (found and filmed) was edited close to the rhythm and pace of the soundscape. I wanted everyday objects (almost still life) juxtaposed with images of the everyday rat race. For some reason that works well and results in an overall strange atmosphere.
I was prompted to post a second Swoon videopoem this week by the realization that I have missed quite a few good ones this year. I think that’s excusable, though, given that he’s released 70 poetry films in 2014 (so far), collaborating with poets both famous and obscure from all over the world. Considering how many of his films have appeared in festivals and exhibitions, not to mention on this and other websites, it’s fair to say that Neys is doing more to bring poetry to the screen than any filmmaker alive — all on a shoestring budget.
This is not the first time that Nic Sebastian—known for her great reading voice—has made a videopoem with text-on-screen rather than voiceover, but it may be her most satisfying example of that sort of videopoem to date. The text, by New Orleans-based poet Charlotte Hamrick, comes from The Poetry Storehouse, and the soundtrack is by Matt Samolis.