~ Author-made videopoems ~

Everything Is Radiant between the Hates by Rich Ferguson

I remember seeing this on social media when it came out in 2020, but forgot to share it here—better late than never, I guess! L.A.-based Beat poet Rich Ferguson is also an accomplished videopoet, resulting in an interesting hybrid between a spoken-word-style video and a regular videopoem. It took 3rd Place in the 2020 Deanna Tulley Multimedia Contest from Slippery Elm magazine. The camera work is by Ferguson, Christianne Ray, and Butch Norton, who’s also the drummer.

De Sluis / The Sluice by Marc Neys

As I said when I shared Eduardo Yagüe’s Oscura the other week, it’s always interesting to see a long-time poetry filmmaker stepping into the poet role himself. Especially one like Marc Neys (aka Swoon), whose style is in many ways closest to avant-garde videopoetry, where author-made films are the norm.

Poem, voice, music and film
Marc Neys

Text editor and translation
Willem Groenewegen

Footage right panel
David Samiran’s ‘Mems First Steps’, 2011

Project Hazmatic: Score For Body As Cautionary Tale by Willa Carroll

Eco-ritual and apocalyptic pilgrimage, “Project Hazmatic: Score for Body as Cautionary Tale” follows an array of wayfarers through endangered landscapes. Scored by a dystopian poem cycle and an ambient sound collage, kinetic explorers don yellow hazmat suits as protective membranes and second skins.
(official description)

One of the most impressive author-made videopoems I’ve ever seen, Project Hazmatic: Score For Body As Cautionary Tale debuted in TriQuarterly in January 2021, and went on to win Best Poetry Film at the International Migration & Environmental Film Festival.

Willa Carroll is an up-and-coming, NYC-based poet whose 2018 collection, Nerve Chorus, was a small press bestseller. “Her poetry video and multimedia work has been featured in Interim Poetics, Narrative Outloud, TriQuarterly, Writers Resist, and other venues. […] Carroll has collaborated with numerous artists, performers, and filmmakers,” including cinematographer Andreas von Scheele and choreographer Susannah Keebler.

Here’s how Sarah Minor described Project Hazmatic at Triquarterly, in her typically lucid prose:

Combining poetry, performance art, and moving image, “Project Hazmatic: Score For Body As Cautionary Tale” reveals the yellow hazmat suit to be a sheath, a container, a figure, and an effigy that can move in surprising ways across landscapes. While two suits blow empty across a beach, inflating with wind to make ghost shapes, a voice recites: “Skin, a bridge, a porous equation, overworked for centuries, unhinge the jaws, swallow all, a black air.” This project features a long sound poem in eleven sections with titles like “Score for Body as Thirst Suit,” “Score for Body as Durational Performance,” and “Score for Body as Wild Processional.” Its images and language think together about the purported lines among human, animal, and landscape that are often delineated by porous skins, and about the environmental degradation across the strata of many beings: “We play a game with no score, down on all fours, call all ill animals to the yard, sweeten the debris you feed them, jump the electric fence, a species link.” Part object lesson, part evolutionary retelling (“Flowers precede the bees, whales flunk back into the oceans”), “Project Hazmatic” also demonstrates the shared goals of texts that stretch the possibilities of language and video performances that pose and re-pose questions through repeated shapes, colors, and horizon lines.

To see more of Carroll’s videos, browse the Multimedia page on her website. We’ll be following her work with keen interest.

Oscura (Dark) by Eduardo Yagüe

It’s always interesting to see a long-time poetry filmmaker like Eduardo Yagüe, used to working with poems from the canon, stepping into the poet role himself. There’s no English translation, but the text is so straightforward as to hardly need one. In any case, Google Translate’s rendition is more than adequate:

The persistent darkness.
The porous darkness.
The uncertain darkness.
The crushing darkness.
Darkness is a wild animal.
Darkness is a closed door.
The darkness of the flesh.
The whispering darkness.
The succulent scar.
The luminous darkness.

The music is sourced from a one-man band based in France, Hinterheim.

Solo duet by Janet Lees

The latest film poem from Manx artist and poet Janet Lees seems fitting for this week of scorching temperatures in so many places. I’m sure she won’t mind if we paste in the full text of her Vimeo description, because it’s interesting to see what she excerpted from her original page-poem, “Retreat,” to make the film poem:

Poem & video by Janet Lees
Music by Tonic Walter & Nina Nst
The full poem, originally published in Earthlines magazine:

Retreat

1
I have hung out my clothes
on the washing line at the edge of the world.
Silhouetted arms and legs
give dumbstruck kicks and jerks,
stiff with salt and too much mending
by hands that have lost
the scent of naked,
eyes that can’t see
to thread a needle.

2
Viewed through glass: peat,
pelt. Imagined song
of blood and stone
fattening my tongue until
it fills my mouth, stops
my throat.
Between inside
and outside,
the flame roar of the wind,
cauterising open sores
where men have dug out earth from me
to burn to warm their hands.

3
My blood
runs cold and clear
My bones are made
of the world’s dried tears
There is wreckage
and resurgence in my heart
At dusk I drink the sun
and then dead stars
live again in my skin
which breaks
and is
unbroken

The Long Slow Effect of Gravity by Ian Gibbins

A 2020 poetry film by the Australian multimedia poet, musician and scientist Ian Gibbins, with

Footage taken around Adelaide CBD, Belair, Blackwood, Sturt River, Mount Compass and Middleton, all in South Australia, and Athens, Greece.

The soundtrack is in polyrhythmic 6/4 time and contains audio samples of bird calls, rain and various falling objects recorded in Belair, South Australia.

3D models of shark, roses and dog skeleton obtained and used under license from sketchfab.com. They were animated within Motion 5.

午與夜的十四行 / A Sonnet of Noon and Night by 綠蒂 Lui Di

Taiwanese performance artist Yin-Sheng Liu aka Craphone Liu directed and composed the music for this poetry film with its beautiful, calligraphic fonts. Not being fluent in Chinese, I wasn’t able to find anything meaningful about the author in a web search.

Crush by Janet Lees

This recent film by Manx videopoet (and Moving Poems regular) Janet Lees was featured along with two others in the newly re-launched Issue One/Spring 2022 issue of Atticus Review.

CRUSH: Artist’s Statement: The poem at the heart of this videopoem is a reflection on the less lovely, more violent realities of ‘young love.’ Like many young people, I was subject to all-consuming crushes as a teenager. Infatuation can make you do anything; rejection can make you feel as though you’ve been turned inside-out and left for dead. Like many women, I have also experienced sexual oppression and violence. I found the doll in a bucket in a junk shop. She appears in the film exactly how I found her, without skirt or trousers. Her exposed and seemingly vulnerable state spoke powerfully to me. As we were driving back from the junk shop I put her on the dashboard and it just looked right, recalling dreams of being in a driverless car, with no control over my fate. The poem was originally published in my collection ‘A bag of sky,’ from Frosted Fire Press.

A great example of how serendipity and something like ekphrasis can produce works of extraordinary power when the poet is also the filmmaker.

Peacedemic or Wargasm? by Finn Harvor

The lovers of all life are not choosy,
but they know what aliveness means.

Seoul-based American videopoet Finn Harvor’s films are regularly featured on the poetry film circuit, but through sheer oversight this is the first one we’ve shared on Moving Poems. It really showcases Harvor’s unpretentious, collage-like approach: a poet moving through the world and recording his responses in text, audio and video is the basic vibe. His YouTube channel is

devoted mainly to two ideas: the first is the idea of the screenplay module novel; that is, a work of literary fiction that can be either a text-only, belletristic work of literature, or a hybrid graphic novel.

The second idea follows from the first. It is that of the authorial movie: a movie in which everything, including script-writing, narration, music composition and direction, are done by one creator … one authorial sensibility.

This one is literally a collage, as the description makes clear:

This poetry film is a collection of earlier pieces that have been edited and updated. The theme is what direction humanity will go in — peace or war? — and also a reflection on how human life is experienced differently on the level of the individual (for example, an individual couple) and institutionally (for example, as the head of a military superpower).

If I may editorialize for a moment, I think it’s especially important for poets to address questions of war and peace in this political moment, when ruling liberal elites in the West seem to have accepted what had originally been, in the U.S. at least, a conservative idea: that they can make people believe almost anything with the help of an ideologically conformist, captive press. Propaganda techniques rolled out during the COVID-19 pandemic have been repurposed to suppress most questioning of the dominant narrative about Russia and Ukraine through unprecedented levels of government cooperation with and control over online content moderators and social media algorithms, all under the guise of fighting disinformation. This should be alarming to anyone who cares about freedom of expression. In such an environment, I would argue that poets have an obligation to create as much wrongthink as possible, though hopefully not in a didactic or preachy way. Harvor’s playful touch here strikes me as a good model. Younger poets, for whom Beat-influenced sarcasm may not resonate in quite the same way, can explore other ways of expressing their dissent against the war machine. Or as Harvor labels it here, “the machinery of modern pleasure.”

Space by Kate Sweeney

Space is the most recent video by UK artist Kate Sweeney. It is a touchingly simple piece reflecting on an in-between place where she found solace during lockdown. The brief animation that closes the video was painted using inks and dyes made from materials in this environment.

Some of Kate’s fine work as a film-maker collaborating with other poets has been previously shared here at Moving Poems, but this is the first time we have published her work as both poet and film-maker. Space is part of her ongoing project, To Be Two, in which she creates work drawn from her intimate surroundings.

Modicum by Pablo Saborío

An author-made videopoem by Pablo Saborío, who describes himself as a “Costa Rican-born poet, visual artist, mystic wonderer. Based in Copenhagen, Denmark.” His poetry is philosophical with a strong mystical bent. I chose Modicum because I’m a sucker for clever, single-shot videopoems. The description reads:

Video Poetics (Visual Metaphors)
(2021)
Music created with Beepbox.co
Voice generated with readloud.net

Visit Saborío’s artist website or Vimeo page to see more of his unique work.

america (i wanted to…) by Matt Mullins

This recent, author-made videopoem by Matt Mullins could be considered an extreme translation—’Allen Ginsberg’s poem “America” revisited for the 21st Century’ as he described it on Vimeo.