~ Author-made videopoems ~

Immigrant Sea by Forrest Gander

A friend lent me a copy of Forrest Gander’s 2021 collection Twice Alive: An Ecology of Intimacies, and in a moment of pure serendipity last Wednesday, skimming the acknowledgements, I see a mention of poetry films, so I go to Vimeo and find this video at the top of my feed, uploaded just a few hours earlier! I’ve been following Gander’s videopoetry for years, during which time his reputation as a page poet has skyrocketed, to the point where I think it’s fair to say he’s the most prominent American poet regularly making his own poetry films. And his videopoems have grown stronger as well (though you may have to take my word for this, as his earlier films have gone missing). His choice of images used to feel a bit arbitrary at times, but I don’t get that feeling from any of his recent films, which now feel as necessary and urgent as the texts on their own.

You can read the text of the poem in Harper’s (if you haven’t already hit their paywalled limit).

war movie by Martha McCollough

This 11-year-old videopoem by Martha McCollough—one of the few of hers we’ve never featured here—seems more relevant than ever. It’s been six years since she last uploaded a new video to her Vimeo page, but her unique voice and vision remain unsurpassed in an increasingly crowded field of American videopoets.

Demolished by Ian Gibbins

None of the images in the video are as they seem in real life. Instead, we imagine what could be if “progress” proceeds at its current rate. What will remain? How will the survivors operate? Where will the ghosts of our history end up?

Vimeo description

Australian videopoet Ian Gibbins needs no introduction here, and his background as a scientist makes his films about the climate and extinction crises especially compelling. In a recent blog post introducing Demolished, he asked,

Is it possible to have a one-word poem?

Very short forms of poetry have a long history. Perhaps the best known are haiku, which in their classic English form consist of only three lines with a total of 17 syllables. But then there are 6-word poems, a popular form of extremely compressed writing. Visual poetry and concrete poetry is often based around a single word, perhaps with its multiple variations.

For me, one of the primary attractions of video art is that I can create visual worlds that do not exist in real life. The roles of juxtaposition, movement, and the tension between familiarity and strangeness in the visual domain act like metaphor and allusion in written poetry. When audio is added, we gain an additional dimension within which ambiguity, shifting mood and rhythmic energy can inhabit.

My video DEMOLISHED was created for a group exhibition curated by Tony Kearney at The Packing Shed, Hart’s Mill, Port Adelaide, South Australia, as part of the 2024 Adelaide Fringe Festival. None of the scenes in the video exist in real life. Every one of them has been composited and, in some cases animated, from multiple images recorded in the immediate area around Hart’s Mill, including some from inside the Packing Shed itself. The soundtrack was created from a single spoken sample of the word “demolished”.

For me, the video incorporates the feeling of a poem in some way. I originally had intended to include much more text, but as the video came together with the soundtrack, it became clear that the visual imagery told the story, following the rhythms of the soundtrack. If you know the area, the scenes look strangely familiar but impossible to pin down, perhaps like images from a dream or a poorly-recalled memory. Hopefully, they act as metaphors for the loss of human and natural history extending back generations, as old work sheds, warehouses, docks and wetlands are demolished in the name of so-called development of the Port Adelaide district.

So is it possible to have a one word poem? Maybe… But I’d like to think it is certainly possible to have a one-word poetry video… DEMOLISHED.

cipher by Chris Turnbull

An author-made videopoem by Canadian poet Chris Turnbull based on a selection from her latest book of poetry. Here’s the publisher’s description from Beautiful Outlaw Press:

In cipher “the kids refuse the forest.” Beginning here, the poem amplifies outward from nature into built cyber realities and ecological catastrophe.

How does language mediate our changing relationship with nature amid an exploding virtual environment? What corporeal landscapes are left to us to explore and experience? Do we want to? How is language transposed to encourage new modes and to placate loss and change?

cipher invites us to consider cyber as a surrounding and a frontier. Navigation is coded.

The book will be launched via Zoom on Tuesday, April 2nd, 8:00-9:00 PM EDT, alongside two new translations of Celan. Use this link: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/87236206439?pwd=aeS9T7MFp7z5BQh1buQFvIKr8ucu34.1 and passcode 024558.

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.

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.

We Are All Drowned Out by Kimberly Reyes

A sense of planetary emergency is vividly evoked here in a videopoem with the power and urgency of a feature film, co-directed by American poet Kimberly Reyes and Irish/Australian filmmaker Gary de Buit (Studio 8 Labs) with music by Aiden Guilfolye, and uploaded to YouTube two years ago with this description:

Made in Monaghan, Ireland by Studio 8 Labs with funding from the Irish Arts Council. First published on Poethead.

Visit Reyes’ website and scroll down for a bio, before checking out her other poetry films. It’s always encouraging to see ambitious, career-oriented poets getting into poetry film (as opposed to aging burnouts like me). Here’s how her bio begins:

Kimberly Reyes is an award-winning poet, essayist, popular culture critic, and visual culture scholar who began her career as a music and entertainment reporter. She transitioned to creative writing after receiving her Master of Arts from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism in 2013 and has since been awarded grants, bursaries, fellowships, residencies and scholarships from the Poetry Foundation, the Fulbright Program, the Academy of American Poets, Tin House Workshops, Culture Ireland, the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, New York City Artist Corps, Miami Writers Institute, the Arts Council of Ireland, CantoMundo, Callaloo, Hambidge, Cave Canem, the Napa Valley Writers’ Conference, the Munster Literature Centre, Summer Literary Seminars in Kenya, the Prague Summer Program for Writers, the Community of Writers, and many other places.

Read the rest.

Un Corpo / A Body by Milena Tipaldo

Italian artist Milena Tipaldo animates her own line-sketch illustrations for Un Corpo / A Body, a film she also wrote. Widely screened at international festivals, it won the Jury Award for Best Animation in the 2022 Weimar Poetry Film Awards in Germany. A synopsis:

What’s a body? And what’s the difference between a human body, an animal body, a fruiting body, and a celestial body? A voice-over using puns drives you through the life of many bodies and their common destiny.

As with her earlier Ode all’ansia / Ode to Anxiety, the playful sound and music score is by French artist Enrico Ascoli.

Beatnik Sermon by Matt Mullins

All things are one thing. And that’s something.

A recent poem/recitation/audiovisual composition—as the credits have it—from Matt Mullins, who needs no introduction here, I think.

Deep Into Another Night by Finn Harvor

https://vimeo.com/831442642

There are different sub-genres beneath the umbrella terms videopoetry and poetry film. Finn Harvor’s Deep Into Another Night is at the far end of a spectrum – a poetic film without words. It has a soft observational quality, delicately revealing poignant everyday moments in a quiet evening in South Korea.

Sensurious by Ian Gibbins

The videopoetry of Australian artist and thinker Ian Gibbins is strikingly unique. This version of his 2015 piece Sensurious was just this week uploaded in higher definition and with English and Spanish subtitles. He has previously written about his work with video, poetry and translation for Moving Poems Magazine.

The text in the video first came into being as a response to the art of Judy Morris, written specifically for an exhibition of her Sensurious series. From Ian’s artist statement about this at Rochford Street Review:

Judy and I have collaborated on many projects over the years. Sensurious – drawings to stimulate the sense was her third solo exhibition. It was held at Pike Wines gallery in Clare Valley, South Australia (2014) and at Magpie Springs winery gallery neat McLaren Vale, South Australia, in 2015. I wrote short pieces of text for each of the drawings and they became the basis for poem. The video features the formal Latin names of the plants, the meanings of which inform the text of the poem.

A number of other videos by Ian Gibbins have been featured at Moving Poems here.