At Freeman’s Farm by Marilyn McCabe

An author-made videopoem by Marilyn McCabe which incorporates voices of war veterans and videography by Peter Verardi. There’s a long and fascinating essay on McCabe’s website about the making of this videopoem, her first. Here’s a more succinct description from an email she sent me:

I gave my poem to some local vets then interviewed them about whether it made them think of anything particular in their experience, and asked particularly about the landscapes of the wars they’d experienced. I then wove some of their words into the stanzas of my poem, and set them to images from the Saratoga National Battlefield park, and the French art song, which is about men who are leaving for the far horizon feeling held back by the souls in the cradles they leave behind.

And here’s a brief excerpt from her essay:

I think the most important thing I learned as an artist from this project is to let go and just wait and see, to try things out without fear. So I tried things and took one step at a time and things began to come together.

I began to learn that images too have rhythm, have silence; that speech – with its rhythms and stutters – is rich and complicated and that voices are a kind of text; landscape is a kind of text and has movement and emotion. That I could create a kind of lineation and space by manipulating the movement of sound and picture. In the end, the whole thing felt more like a creating dance than anything else.

One of the ways I dealt with time was in the movement from image to image. I felt a kind of rise in energy in the third stanza where they’re talking about ordnance and the mechanisms of war, so I used faster flashes, and used the rise of the music here.

Read the rest.

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