This complex, multi-faceted videopoem was the April 26 offering from the Visible Poetry Project, and was directed by one of the project’s executive producers, Christina Ellsberg, about whom the website notes:
She graduated from Barnard College in 2016, where she studied medical anthropology and poetry writing. Christina is currently working on an upcoming horror/comedy web series, and will be attending divinity school in the fall.
As for the poet,
Sophia Buchanan Bannister is currently studying English as an undergraduate at Barnard College. In addition to poetry, her interests include baking, comedy, and vintage shoes. She was drawn to the Visible Poetry Project for the opportunity to share a vision, a sentiment, and an urgency across artistic mediums.
A poem by Austin, Texas-based writer Brittani Sonnenberg adapted for the Visible Poetry Project by UK artist Jane Glennie. “A key technique in her films is to take hundreds of photographs, which are edited and sequenced into rapid ‘flicker films’ and combine them with composite soundtracks,” as Gklennie’s bio on the VPP website puts it.
Two Moving Poems regulars—filmmaker Eduardo Yagüe and poet Luisa A. Igloria—in their first collaboration, a film for the Visible Poetry Project. Luisa provided the voiceover, and the actress, as in so many of Eduardo’s poetry films, is the wonderful Gabriella Roy. The music is an original composition by Four Hands Project. The poem originally appeared on Via Negativa, the literary blog I share with Luisa, last October.
Luisa had another poetry video this spring, too: Marc Neys (a.k.a. Swoon) made the trailer for her latest collection of poems, The Buddha Wonders if She is Having a Mid-Life Crisis.
Why is this our most silent, daily question, ‘what to wear?’
And is it for ourselves or someone else that we ask this?
It was writing poetry and being a published poet at 14 that spurred [Cousins] on to be a visual artist: “The best poets explain our lives back to us in the rhythm and song of our own language. I was a very lonely child befriended by poems and stories. It was a combination that made me a very happy and successful adult. Being commissioned to send a poem out in to the world in a 3 dimensional film form is very exciting to me. I cannot wait to collaborate with my poet and think up a tapestry of images that will do them visual justice. What a treat! My aim is to reach an audience who benefit as I did from the magical medicine of poetry.”
UK director A D Cooper‘s short for the Visible Poetry Project adapts a poem by the early 20th-century Welsh “supertramp” W. H. Davies. I had the pleasure of seeing the film, and meeting the director, last Saturday at a special curation of VPP films at London’s Poetry Cafe. Cooper said her decision to film in London, rather than in some more pastoral setting as the text might seem to suggest, was driven in part by filming logistics and in part by the desire to avoid naive illustration, and that some of the shots were unplanned and serendipitous. I told her it really worked for me, both as a tourist in London and as a country person in cities generally, where I often wonder why no one else seems inclined to pause and gawk at the amazing surroundings. So for me, the text and the video seem tailor-made for each other.
For full credits, stills, and other information about the film, see its page on the Hurcheon Films website.
The poem chosen for the Visible Poetry Project, “The Microwave,” is in conversation with the hypnotic, digitalized world in Taiwanese artist Chen Wan-jen’s video “The Unconscious Voyage,” in which people move across a barren landscape in loops of repetitive movement. Boundaries, scope, elegy, and apocalypse, are some of the ideas animating this poem.
It seems only appropriate that a poem prompted by a video should be made into a video in turn. Here is The Unconscious Voyage (best expanded to full screen):