Posts Tagged: The Poetry Storehouse

One Story by Cristina Norcross

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This Swoon (Marc Neys) film for a Poetry Storehouse poem by Cristina Norcross remixes footage from kenji kawasawa and Colby Moore. Swoon’s blog post about the film includes an interesting reaction from the poet:

Our lives are separate, yet we are bonded – part of an organic whole. Perhaps we are becoming more and more isolated. I would like to believe that there is hope for us to find common ground – to rediscover the beauty of our human connection.

When I first sat down to write the poem, “One Story,” I was actually in the middle of watching Charlie Kaufman’s film, Synecdoche, New York (2008), with Philip Seymour Hoffman.

The dialogue and concept of the film struck a chord with me, and I was unable to wait until the end, to start writing down thoughts. I was transfixed by the notion of how our separateness and isolation is actually a dream.

We are all one. We are all part of the same story. From this seed, I fleshed out images of people I knew or people I had seen on the street. The actress learning her lines on a threadbare couch, sitting on hope, was (and still is) me and my fellow poet, artist, songwriter friends. We are all dreaming about having our ideas take shape – having them take flight.

When I found out that Marc Neys was developing a video remix for my poem, I was quite excited to see how he would interpret the words through the lens of film, images, and music. From the first glimpse, I was captivated by the balloons and mesmerized by the atmospheric sounds and voices underneath the recording of my poem. Each time I view the film, I see more details that have meaning for me. Marc truly captures the bustling, city feeling of many individuals sharing space. He also skillfully conveys how each person is unique. Each balloon finds its own direction, and yet at the end, the balloons form concentric circles. There is a never-ending string that connects us. We belong to one another. You are those feet drifting back and forth in the hammock. You are the father holding a toddler on your shoulders. These images are a glimpse and a gift. Even the very end of the film leaves an echo of how we connect: “What is your name? Mary? That is beautiful. That is a beautiful name.”

Sometimes the Water by Kallie Falandays

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Marie Craven remixed some surreal footage by Simone Mogliè and Fernanda Veron, music by Adrian Carter, and Nic Sebastian‘s reading of a poem by Kallie Falandays at the Poetry Storehouse. (Nic has also made her own video for the poem.) I’m especially impressed by the bold choice of music. It shocked me at first, but I eventually came to feel that it provides just the right contrast for the dream-like imagery, throwing it and the voiceover into high relief. I can’t tell you how many videos I’ve chosen not to share here just because the music struck me as too stale or predictable.

Advice Dyslexic by Lisa Vihos

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Lamp the lights
and harvest the gather.
Let no unturned go stone.

A nicely minimalist video remix by Dale Wisely of a Poetry Storehouse poem by Lisa Vihos, using Nic Sebastian’s reading in the soundtrack. The text is delightful; some of the inverted phrases make better advice than the originals. And somehow watching moving images while hearing them helped me put them together. (Though I wonder whether a dyslexic person would have the same reaction.)

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.

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