~ Filmmaker: Angella Kassube ~

Discharged into Clouds by Dean Young

The November selection from Motionpoems is by their co-founder Angella Kassube, and I think it’s one of the best they’ve ever made. The minimalism here really works for me, in part perhaps because I like Dean Young‘s poem so much. The soundtrack (by Carly Zuckweiler) is a perfect match to Tim Nolan’s reading.

Kassube’s process notes are worth a read (scroll down past the poem text). The poem is from Young’s new book, Bender.

Good to see a major player in American poetry film use a reading from someone other than the author. It’s kind of surprising to me that poetry film makers rely so heavily on poets’ own readings, given that all too often we are the least inspired oral interpreters of our own words.

The Pilgrim is Bridled and Bespectacled by Bridget Lowe

The September offering from Motionpoems is an animation by the co-director herself, Angella Kassube. Visit their website for the text. This is another selction from Best American Poetry 2011. Bridget Lowe is a young poet from Kansas City with a first book due out next year from Carnegie Mellon University Press.

Motionpoems’ free email newsletter quoted Kassube on the making of the film:

“From the beginning I knew I had to use the correct face and the correct eyes. But the line ‘World, there are two baskets / on my back’ – I didn’t know what to do with that. I built the section several times. I knew I didn’t want to use images of two baskets and fill them with something. I had already thought about how many definitions there are for the word ‘WORLD,’ and I had decided that World should be inside her head. There are the city and other images that represent outside influences on her world, but it is how she reacts to those things that creates her World. I realized she could look in two different directions and that could be a way to interpret the two baskets.”

The use of those eyes also stood out to Bridget: “The beautiful illustrations Angella used to tell the story (the eyes–so perfect!) balance explanation and mystery impeccably. Her timing as a director is likewise inarguably impeccable. Angella’s vision has compelled me to rethink how I read, and therefore present, my own work. What a gift.”

Here at Motionpoems, we’re always excited when we learn one of our films has inspired a poet to consider her work in a new light. Bridget continued, “The thing that most surprised and excited me about Angella’s interpretation was her ability to illuminate a playfulness in the poem that I hadn’t previously noticed fully. I knew the poem was one of pleading and desperation, but Angella’s version cut through some of that heaviness and landed in a place more like wondrous awe, which is what the poem announces itself to be from the beginning. I thought that was brilliant.”

The Angel of Duluth #2 by Madelon Sprengnether

From Motionpoems, an illustration of a piece by Madelon Sprengnether in her collection of prose poems, The Angel of Duluth (White Pine Press, 2006). Design and Animation are by Angella Kassube with HDMG Post Design Audio and Effects.

Wanting Sumptuous Heavens by Robert Bly

Another MotionPoems production, designed and animated by Angella Kassube with a reading by the poet.

Constellations by Todd Boss

Angella Kassube animates a poem by Todd Boss. The poem can also be found in higher-quality video and text forms at the new site MotionPoems.com (no direct links available due to Flash overkill).