~ Filmmaker: Matt Mullins ~

Janet Leigh is Afraid of Jazz by Marsha de la O

The latest videopoem by Matt Mullins, who writes:

Here’s Janet Leigh; she’s afraid of jazz in reverse as an overlay to diagrammatical stereographic explanations. The knife-blade shrieks are Doppler warps to a molasses of strips teased. Unimaginable synchronicities abound. The drain eye has an arm and spins water into sound. It’s all very pointed in its touching.

poem: Marsha de la O

concept/direction/audio-visual composition: Matt Mullins

Vimeo description

Via the Filmetry Archive. The poem by Marsha de la O was one of the texts supplied to filmmakers for their 2024 contest; this film placed second. I was especially impressed by how Mullins handled the challenge of including and suggesting jazz elements in the soundtrack without simply deploying a jazz track, giving the film an allusive depth and working to counter-balance what might have otherwise seemed too cerebral an approach to the imagery. And given the long history of jazz at poetry readings, Mullins’ Beat-style vocal delivery seemed just right to my ear.

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.

Table for One by Carol Ann Palomba

Selected for the 2023 Haiku North America Haibun Film Festival. Browse the other selections.

Matt Mullins directs a film that we loved for its subtlety, its mastery of the poetry film genre, and its haiku spirit. In the end, it wasn’t a difficult decision to award it Best of Show. Jane Glennie found it “Carefully thought out and very subtly handled. The boiling water is utterly compelling within the stillness of the scene. The soundscape works really well, and the cuts to the haiku text powerful.” James Brush added, “I also like the very ordinariness of the shot. I imagine the speaker standing at the stove just staring and maybe not really seeing, his mind wandering. We’ve all been there, right? I guess that’s why it resonates so much for me.” As for me, I found the film grew on me the more I watched it: a minimalist masterpiece.

Director’s Statement: “Things come to a boil.”

Carol Ann Palomba has been published in anthologies and numerous journals, including Acorn, Frogpond, Haibun Today, Heron’s Nest, Mayfly, Modern Haiku, and Presence. She received third place in the 2020 Harold G. Henderson Haiku Contest and honorable mentions in Sonic Boom’s 4th annual Senryu Contest and the 2017 H. Gene Murtha Memorial Senryu Contest. Carol Ann is a member of the Haiku Poets of the Garden State and helps facilitate the New Jersey Botanical Garden’s haiku installation during Poetry Month. She’s thrilled that her haibun, “Table For One,” was chosen to be adapted into a short film and thanks the judges, the director, and Moving Poems. She enjoys playing darts and sounds much taller on the phone.

Matt Mullins makes videopoems, plays music, and writes. You can see more of his work at vimeo.com/mattmullins.

3 Erasures at War by Matt Mullins

An author-made videopoem from earlier this year by Matt Mullins, who probably needs no introduction here. As someone who’s dabbled in erasure poetry myself, I was impressed by how well he handled that. There’s quite a lot of free footage of the 1934 New York World’s Fair at the Prelinger Archives, which I’m guessing might be what gave Matt the idea for the videopoem in the first place, but regardless, I think he made good use of it, taking a kinestatic approach for a pleasing contrast with the longer screen-times of the text elements. The soundtrack glues it all together, incorporating Hendrix’s rendition of the US national anthem from Woodstock.

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.

Patti Smith at the Punch and Judy Theater by Jim Daniels

Patti Smith at the Punch and Judy Theater is the latest film from Matt Mullins, a collaboration with Michigan poet Jim Daniels.

Jim’s poem was inspired by the experience of seeing Patti Smith in the ’70’s at a small theater in the Detroit area. By coincidence, Matt went to the same theater to see movies as a child.

Since watching their film I’ve read Jim’s poem in print, and watched a live version of “Gloria” by Patti Smith.

For the film’s sound composition, Matt has sampled just the first powerful line of Patti’s voice in “Gloria”. In audio editing he rearranges the sung phrases to form a new, minimal, poem-song in itself. This is in sympathetic contrast to the printed words of Jim’s poem, which appear on the screen. It’s as if they are two poems side by side.

Matt says of his approach to making the piece: “It’s pretty raw intentionally as I was trying to catch that Patti Smith vibe.”

I find it hauntingly emotional, deep, original.

There Are Bullets in This Poem by Jan Bottiglieri, Chris Green, cin salach, and Tony Trigilio

This is Semi-Automatic Pantoum, directed by Matt Mullins, made to accompany the collection Semi-Automatic Pantoums: A Collaboration on Gun Violence [PDF] by the Chicago-based collective Poetic Justice League. According to their origin story,

In 2018, in the season of Donald Trump and longing for another time, Chris Green was driving down a Chicago road to see his poetic super heroes Jan Bottiglieri, cin salach, and Tony Trigilio. He proposed The Poetic Justice League, a group for poetic non-silence on the big issues of the day. They dreamed up PJL to unfold group poems, to wake up poets and readers to a sense of newborn responsibility. [links added]

The pantoum is one of those forms with repeating lines, which makes it a good if macabre fit for the subject of semi-automatic weapons and the semi-automatic reactions of various political factions to the American epidemic of mass shootings. Matt Mullins added some lines of his own to the video, but otherwise the text is the same as “There Are Bullets in This Poem” (page 5 of the collection). As Matt said in an email on Monday,

It’s intensely disturbing that these horrific mass shooting events just won’t stop happening (I write you this the morning after we realize that families can’t even go to a food festival without being murdered by someone with an assault rifle.) American gun violence has gone far beyond insanity, and yet, as we all know, the politicians in the palm of the NRA will do nothing.

To write your own semi-automatic pantoum, see the collective’s instructions for teachers.

The Poetic Justice League hopes that high school students form their own PJL chapters! You will receive a PJL hat and will be included in all publishing and promotional ventures . . . and we will continue to include you in all future PJL political poetry adventures.

The only requirement is that students contribute their own collaborative political poems modeled after PJL projects. For now, we’re seeking semi-automatic pantoums–we will post the pantoums on our site.

Still There by Lucy English

A recent addition to Lucy English‘s collaborative, online poetry-film anthology The Book of Hours by the Indiana-based multimedia poet Matt Mullins.

Aubade by Lucy English

A collaboration between Matt Mullins (audiovisual composition) and Lucy English (poem, voiceover) for English’s Book of Hours project.

After Image by Matt Mullins

Poet Matt Mullins shows how to make an effective videopoem out of a single photo. The text, voiceover, and audio-visual composition are all his own here; the original photographer is unknown.

Landmine in a Field of Flowers by Matt Mullins

A recent videopoem from filmmaker-poet Matt Mullins. This is the way the meadows look now where I live, in central Pennsylvania.

Monster Movie by Matt Mullins

A new author-made videopoem from Matt Mullins. Poet as Godzilla (rather than poet as god, à la Vicente Huidobro) is definitely a concept I can get behind. For the first couple of minutes, I was puzzled by all the different screen arrangements, but it eventually made sense… in fact, using videopoetry to critique movie making and movie watching is something that should happen more often, I think.