~ Nationality: Afghanistan ~

Nailing Remembrance by Farkhonda Akbar

A gorgeous poetry film by Jutta Pryor with music and sound production by Lisa Greenaway A.K.A. LAPKAT. Farkhonda Akbar, a poet from the Hazara ethnic group in Afghanistan, writes:

It was midnight in Melbourne when I wrote Nailing Remembrance after feeling a cold fire burning in me. I had just finished reading about the journey of a girl from my valley in Afghanistan in the late 1800s. A princess turned into a slave, she was elegant and in-love, layered and lonely, resilient and secretive. Besides the brutal political context of the time and her painful destiny, this poem is capturing her layers of inner feelings, sense of loss, vibrant and violent moments of the time and the strength in her struggle. Nailing Remembrance is a window into the museum of a forcefully forgotten self.

Landays: Pashtun women’s poetry from Afghanistan

Produced by the Poetry Foundation to accompany the June issue of Poetry magazine, which was entirely devoted to the two-line Afghani poems known as landays. Seamus Murphy‘s film includes lots of stunning shots, and displays familiarity with the filmpoem genre in its imaginative conjunctions of text and image. Murphy has been taking still photographs in Afghanistan since 1994, and some of them accompany his fellow journalist Eliza Griswold‘s essay on, and compilation of, landays for the magazine. One thing the film contributes to the issue is the sound of the Pashto originals, which aren’t otherwise included in the online feature.

A story from PBS NewsHour provides additional background about the project:

Like This by Jalal ad-Din Rumi


David Martineau Lachance is the animator, director, and reader of the text, which is of course a translation from Coleman Barks. See the description on Vimeo for a complete list of Lachance’s collaborators on the film.

Erica Goss included this film in a selection of “10 Outstanding Poetry Films from the Zebra Poetry Film Festival 2012” this month in her “Third Form” column at Connotation Press. Be sure to go watch her other selections (some of which I haven’t shared here, due to a lack of English translation or for other reasons), and of course to read the second half of her review of the poetry festival.

These Spiritual Window Shoppers by Jalal ad-Din Rumi

Coleman Barks reads his translation. As usual with the YouTube videopoems from Four Seasons Productions, there aren’t any credits, so I don’t know who put this together.

“Look at her face…” Ghazal by Jalal ad-Din Rumi

This film-student production by Mark Pariselli features a simple yet ingenious solution to the problem of how to depict mystical consciousness. (Also, it includes footage of mating snails — always a plus in my book.) Read the ghazal here.

Those Who Don’t Feel This Love by Jalal ad-Din Rumi

An inspired choice of film footage to accompany Coleman’s Barks’ reading of his Rumi translation. My favorite of the three Rumi video poems from Four Seasons Productions on YouTube.

Who Says Words with My Mouth by Jalal ad-Din Rumi

Coleman Barks reads his version of the Rumi poem. I found the combination with old streetcar footage strangely effective. (The music is a little irritating, though.) As usual with the YouTube video poems from Four Seasons Productions, no credits are given for filmmaker(s). Another of their videos features a much less interesting, New Agey interpretation of a Barks/Rumi poem, “Only Breath.”