[ The Ferrovores ] by Ian Gibbins

Ian Gibbins‘ work is generally the first I mention when making the case for videopoetry as a genre in which “difficult” poems can become highly entertaining, even gripping. In Ian’s case, this has a lot to do with composing a groovy soundtrack. But his filming, text animation, and editing are all top-notch too. My only complaint here is that I wanted more ostrich emu.

Anyway, this one’s pretty high-concept, so I’d better reproduce the description on Vimeo:

“this time, this place… beyond open circulation closed reciprocity… closed hydration spheres wrought cast smithed… this is what we are what we eat … ”

Iron is the most common metal on earth. Indeed, it forms much of the molten core of the planet which in turn generates the earth’s magnetic poles. The red soils of the world are due to iron. At a biochemical level, iron is essential for human life, amongst other things, making our blood red. In the societal domain, iron is essential for manufacturing, electricity generation, and much more. Certain bacteria can derive energy for life directly from dissolved iron compounds (“rust”) rather than from oxygen as we do. Perhaps, at some time in the future, we, our descendants, the Ferrovores, may need to do the same.

Filmed mostly in the Southern Flinders Ranges, South Australia, in the midst of a multi-year drought.

A remix (2020) of the original version published in the Atticus Review (July, 2020).

Here’s that older version at Atticus Review. And Ian shared the complete text in a blog post.


  1. Reply
    InBohemia 26 September, 2020

    “Unquiet House” – when blood-thirsty vampires go house hunting that’s not all they’re “hunting”
    Here is my #VideoPoem

  2. Reply

    […] I’m generally not a fan of landscape footage in which there is blowing wind, the waving of a blade of grass, the tremble of a spider’s web, or a shaft of light. It is an almost immediate turn-off because it is often the bearer of a slow, ponderous film that just isn’t my cup of tea. But in this film by Ian Gibbins, the treatment of the typography turns this around for me. It has some pace and doom about the lettering that is compelling, and juxtaposes well with the footage. The coding text and the text of the poem work well together and add to the interest and feel of the film. More about the subject of the film in Dave Bonta’s review. […]

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