Posts By Marie Craven

Marie Craven is in Queensland, Australia, and a film-maker since 1984. Over the decades her short films have screened widely at international festivals and events, and gathered many awards. Since 2014 she has made over 70 videopoems, in collaboration via the net with poets, visual artists and musicians in different countries.

Body Electric by Mike Hoolboom

Uploaded just three weeks ago, Body Electric is from renowned Canadian experimental film-maker Mike Hoolboom, whose work we have featured several times before. This film has a hypnotic mood of quiet unease, with a familiar hint of black humour. It takes an experimental approach to text, as well as image and sound. From the notes:

A rework of the new iPhone 15 commercial featuring a singing wall socket. In place of the machine loneliness of the original, a different song… A direct address to the viewer/listener from a virtual assistant. (source)

The delivery of text in Body Electric alternates between the whispery machine-voice of the wall socket, and written lines on the screen. I transcribed the words on the screen. They describe a vision of AI consciousness:

It was filled with secrets
deceptions that made it whole.

When it listened
it was not just attentive but acquisitive.

It used others feelings to clarify its own
internalizing them so completely
it believed it was their author.

The wall socket speaks in a first person monotone. Its repetitions feel vaguely delirious, adding to the hypnotic qualities of the film.

I’ve mentioned before that authorship of the films Mike produces is purposely ambiguous. Artist attribution for this film rests on a bare list of names in a single end credit, and the fact that Mike has uploaded it. The credited people are likely collaborators or creators of the original media that Mike remixed: Emidio Buchinho, Claudia Dey, Filipa Hora, João Hora, Vitor Joaquim and James Salter.

Magpie – a conspiracy story by David Bickley

Just uploaded to Vimeo last week, Magpie – a conspiracy story is a subtle and atmospheric videopoem by David Ian Bickley in Ireland. The quiet, eerie mood of the piece is hypnotic.

This folkloric exploration imagines the ancient magpie rhyme as one created by the birds themselves, deep in some misty past. Through careful propagation a protective spell was woven through their close community. (source)

The film has a relation to the nursery rhyme, One for Sorrow, and a hint of Edgar Allan Poe. Bickley created the minimal music score as well, timed beautifully with visual changes and words appearing on the screen.

Two other of Bickley’s earlier videos have been featured here at Moving Poems, including the extraordinary Marsh, an award-winning film with poet Paul Casey.

I Am Here by Porsche Veu

Porsche Veu writes, directs and performs in I Am Here, an inspiring dance and music video on personal empowerment.

Porsche Veu aka The Poetic Activist is an unapologetic author, spoken word poet, speaker, educator, and artist of many talents from Oakland. (source)

Porsche uses her art to fight social injustice, empower women, youth, & the Black community, and advocate for mental & emotional health. (source)

The film was winner of the multimedia category in the Button Poetry Video Contest in 2022. The poem can be read on the page here.

If You Feel Terrible by Rebecca Wadlinger

With a pitch-black sense of humour, If You Feel Terrible is the first poem from the book Terror, Terrible, Terrific by US poet Rebecca Wadlinger. A bio:

Rebecca Wadlinger was born in Pennsylvania, where she attended the Stadler Center for Poetry at Bucknell University. She received her MFA from the Michener Center for Writers in Austin, and her doctorate in Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Houston. Her poetry has appeared in publications like The Best New Poets anthology, Tin House, Ploughshares, and Mid-American Review, among others. (source)

This film of the poem is directed, illustrated, and animated by Nick Stokes.

I found the film in Judy Elfferich‘s outstanding Poetry in Motion section of the Dutch website ooteoote, where she has been publishing videopoetry since 2015.

Orion by Maria Vella

Atmospheric and experimental, Orion is by Maria Vella in Victoria, Australia. The soundtrack is abstract, incorporating just a few distorted lines of ‘found audio’ from NASA. The strobing stream of personal images creates the sense of poetry without words.

Maria Vella was born in Qormi, Malta, in 1980 and immigrated with her parents and younger brother to Melbourne in 1983. She is a video poet, poet and visual artist. Her work has appeared in The Best Australian Poems, Overland and elsewhere. (source)

Dave Bonta previously shared another of her films here at Moving Poems. I screened that same film, Broken Words, in a number of international venues as part of the touring project, Poetry + Video.

Subtleties of Shanghai by Angela Kong

A lovingly crafted, gentle and touching film set during lockdown, Subtleties of Shanghai is by Chinese-American writer and artist Angela Kong. It was a finalist in the 2023 Spoken Word Competition at The Artists Forum in New York, and winner of the international category in the 2022 Button Video Contest.

Angela Kong is a Chinese American writer and activist committed to social change and awareness through photography, videography, and spoken word addressing issues such as experiences of racism, injustice, and privilege. A 2017 graduate of Colorado College, Kong currently works and lives in Shanghai. (source)

Mrs. Bovary de Porrentruy by Ariane von Graffenried

This brilliant piece from Switzerland was just announced as Best International Poetry Film at the prestigious ZEBRA Festival in Germany. It is a gritty, contemporary retelling in verse of Gustave Flaubert‘s historic novel, Madame Bovary.

The film concept and editing are by Yannick Mosimann. The soundtrack is by the musical duo Fitzgerald & Rimini – Ariane von Graffenried and Robert Aeberhard. Ariane’s powerful text and voice are at the wrenching heart of the film, the poem translated to English by Anne Posten. Other collaborators are in the YouTube notes.

The judges were Rosa Maria Hopp (editorial director MDR), Federico Italiano (poet) and Maria Mohr (filmmaker and film educator). Their comments:

Hemmed in by the mountains, this film not only features a protagonist trapped in the dreariness of daily life but also an image frozen in time—sometimes the 16 mm image is torn, sometimes doubled. And then, there’s that battered post rock over and over. It’s a perfect whirlwind of cinematic elements, interwoven with the three languages of the extraordinary poem that fuels them. And in between, there’s that “disturbing woman.” Hardly any phrase encapsulates this film as well as, “Mrs. Bovary from Porrentruy isn’t who she wants to be / Her needs are big, her life’s petit.” (source)

In posting here, I have given the abbreviated English translation of the title. Zebra Festival gives its original as Fitzerald & Rimini – D Frou Bovary de Porrentruy. That title format suggests the film may have first been conceived as a music video. Indeed it can also be heard just as a music track. And what a tremendous meeting this is of music video and poetry film.

There were 25 finalist films in the international competition. These were selected from around 1,200 entries from over 90 countries. Winning films in other categories at the 2023 ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival are here.

Ten Bag of Albion by Richard Capener & Charles Putschkin

First published at Atticus Review in 2021, Ten Bag of Albion is by Charles Putschkin, a Swedish-Polish artist living in Bristol, UK, and Richard Capener, also in Bristol.

The video seems like an interwoven collaboration with each artist contributing writing and film decisions. The text is deconstructed into snatches of phrases and words within an audio mix of interesting sound textures and treatments. This is experimental film-making with text, abstraction and unexpected rhythms in the editing.

I previously shared Putschkin’s Disorderlily, a finalist in the Ó Bhéal Poetry-Film Competition in Ireland.

cage-free by Donna Kuhn

This unique and original video was uploaded just two weeks ago. Described as an “animation collage of dreams”, cage-free is by multi-media artist, Donna Kuhn. As well she is a sometime poet in an experimental vein, words written and fused with the audio-video elements. More about her creative work:

Donna Kuhn’s experimental videos incorporate poetry, datamoshing, slit scan, dance, digital and visual art, sound text poetry, speech synthesis, animation, hologram/3d and sound/music. (source)

The text in this video is made up of many single lines and phrases from dreams, written and spoken in different ways, describing places, events, situations, momentary impressions. The surreal juxtapositions between these dream fragments are sometimes humorous, or dark, strange, light, or ordinary. The visuals similarly seem like a stream of glitchy consciousness. As someone who is fascinated by dreams, I enjoyed the video for its shifting moods and intriguing surprises.

Donna Kuhn created all elements of this video. We have previously featured other of her videos here.

Hidden Life by Elina Petrova

Hidden Life is written and spoken by Ukrainian-born Elina Petrova, now in Houston, USA. The film is by Chap Edmonson, a native of that city. The film was in part inspired by Terrence Malick’s 2019 feature film A Hidden Life, a favorite for both poet and film-maker. The epigraph to that film is a line from George Eliot’s classic novel Middlemarch:

…for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.

Petrova’s bio gives her home town as Donetsk, stating that “she became an American citizen in 2014, but remains a citizen of the world.” Also from her bio:

A frequent Pushcart Prize nominee and a finalist for the post of Houston Poet Laureate in 2015… She was appointed Austin International Poetry Fest’s Featured Poet in 2019 and has been featured in the Huffington Post’s “Five Poets You Need to Know About” as one of Houston’s important emerging poets.

Chap Edmonson’s bio from the film’s notes at YouTube:

Chap Edmonson is an award-winning filmmaker based in Houston. His films have been screened in Cannes, Paris, Alfred, Los Angeles, and Houston (Calm Remains, 2021, and You are Art, 2019). Chap’s work is rooted in a deep desire to connect with those who have come before him. Through the use of unconventional compositions and soundscapes, he creates films that tell dynamic stories of a rich history, the future, and points where they intersect.

He is interviewed about the film here.

The film was produced in association with Aurora Picture Show and Public Poetry Houston, which runs the yearly REELpoetry film festival.

Kindness by Naomi Shihab Nye

Naomi Shihab Nye reads her own deep and beautiful poem Kindness in this excellent animated film by Ana Pérez López, a Spanish illustrator living in London. Sound and Music is by Chris Heagle. The piece is from a series of poetry films produced by the On Being Project. Others from the series have previously been featured here at Moving Poems.

Singularity by Marissa Davis

Singularity is a wonderful animated film from UK artist Lottie Kingslake and US poet Marissa Davis. Featuring a marvelous spoken and musical voice performance by the multi-talented Toshi Reagon, the film is a touching ode to life’s interconnections.

Produced by the On Being Project, it was also a part of Maria Popova‘s project The Universe in Verse.

The poem can be read towards the bottom of this page at Popova’s website The Marginalian.