~ Nationality: Lithuania ~

Caterpillar Suit by Lina Ramona Vitkauskas

A 2020 videopoem by Lina Ramona Vitkauskas, not shared here till now due to an almost criminal oversight, considering how good it is. In 2021 it was a finalist at the 9th International Video Poetry Festival in Greece and the International Migration & Environmental Film Festival in Canada. Vitkauskas notes that it was

Inspired by Latvian artist, Elina Krima + sculpture artist Walter Oltmann.

First cinepoem of 2020 explores what it means to wear the suits of natural instinct, moving through familial separations (especially in light of children being cruelly separated from parents in US). This is perhaps the tip of fear we collectively recycle for the coming decade.

We’ve shared some of her other work over the years, but do explore Vitkausas’s Vimeo page for much more.

Keeping Up with the Huidobros by Lina Ramona Vitkauskas

I fear we have not been keeping up with the always-original videopoetry of Lina Ramona Vitkauskas. This one from last year has a pretty intriguing origin story:

It began with Chilean poet, Vincente Huidobro. The opening / preface of his poetic masterpiece, Altazor, launches into a metaphysical cascade of imagery. This was exciting to a young poet like me—at age 29 with some Spanish knowledge and seeking a manifesto to climb (the name “altazor” is a combination of the noun “altura” / “altitude” and the adjective “azorado” / “bewildered” or “taken aback”).

I’d been experimenting with layered or looking-glass ekphrasis (a term that I’ve coined for this process). As I create cinepoems, a visual language in of itself, I found this poem in particular to be different: it was fueled by a homophonic translation (three languages fused: English, Spanish, and the visual). From this, a separate Lithuanian poem sprung, inspired by the overlapped sounds of street noise, a looped harpsichord, and selected juxtapositions of the poet’s translated phrases and/or words. Now four languages.

Note: It was also a synchronous discovery to find that the first issue of Huidobro’s international art magazine, Creación, featured Lithuanian-born, Cubist sculptor, Jacques Lipchitz.

Click through for an English translation of the Lithuanian poem as well as the full text of the homophonic translation included as voiceover.

Poets by Lina Ramona Vitkauskas

This author-made cinepoem/videopoem by Lina Ramona Vitkauskas uses text from her 2013 collection Professional Poetry. I encountered it a couple of weeks ago via a post on Lina’s blog, which is worth quoting in full:

In 2013, I set out to write a poetry book that raged against the poetry MFA machine within the corporate-modeled university system. At that time, it was clear that, over the decade previous, universities, which employed most of the poets and writers whom I knew, were looking to level any sense of artistic freedom and turn colleges—places of education—into lucrative assembly lines—created to “churn out” ready-made writer-bots modeled after their “mentors”—and most importantly, to rob them of a fair living wage and and benefits.

I created a series of poems that were each dedicated to a profession—from working class to white collar jobs. The poems were also for those whom I knew at the time who were struggling to balance work “by day” and write/create art “by night”. At the time, I worked as a writer and editor for a major university in their advancement division, so I saw first-hand the emphasis the school placed upon making millions of dollars from donors to puff endowments and funnel $ to high-ranking administrators’ salaries—versus ensuring that part-time and adjunct faculty received fair, living wages and health benefits.

The entire collection, called “Professional Poetry” was meant to pay homage to a wide variety of different professions and/also to mock the commodification/capitalist push within arts organizations and universities to homogenize poetry and relegate anything “experimental” or “controversial” to unseen corners. The flattening of creativity—dictated by rich, white, old men, specifically bankers and/or “executives” who were beholden to pharma mega-corporations—forcefully swept into funding decisions for the arts. If a poet didn’t fit their dictated/defined “category”, or if a poet didn’t subserviently oblige and change their work to suit their framework, then it was deemed unclassifiable and therefore “not fundable”, “not publishable” or “un-useful” to the professional world of poetry that they dominated.

Scarcely Gilded by Lina Ramona Vitkauskas

A cinepoem by Lithuanian-Canadian-American poet Lina Ramona Vitkauskas, who notes that the text is

From a new poetry collection, “Between Plague & Kleptocracy: Invented Poetic Creations & Conversations of Seva & Bill”, in which I cross-reference poems between Vsevolod Nekrasov & Bill Knott and serve as medium and “translator” of their posthumous conversations / invented collaborations. The poems are written in the voice / tone / style of both Nekrasov & Knott, featuring borrowed lines and found poems within those lines. The poems are the transcripts of their thoughts across astral planes: what they would perhaps discuss in this perilous time in history: of pandemic, of widespread injustice, forced isolation, and of finding ourselves with a traitorous snake oil salesman / neo-Soviet puppet in our WH.

Regina by Lina Ramona Vitkauskas

Lithuanian-American-Canadian poet Lina Ramona Vitkauskas has been directing a series of short but powerful cinepoems for her collection White Stockings with the help of visual artist Tess Cortés (editing, arrangement and score). Watch the others on Vimeo. They deserve many more views than they have received so far.

Of Shepherds by Ruah Edelstein

Of all the inadvertent omissions from this site, my failure to share any of Ruah Edlestein‘s marvelous Oah & Harlam animations until now may be the most egregious. I love how the animation and the text each tell part of this odd and touching story — something that probably couldn’t have happened quite so seamlessly if the animator and the poet hadn’t been one and the same. Edelstein’s description at Vimeo reads:

This is a first episode from the series of “Oah & Harlam Episodes”.
The project is based on a poetic prose by Ruah Edelstein. At first glance the stories about two
weirdos Oah and Harlam may appear as senseless.
But when there is an overflow of senselessness, then appears deep philosophy.

Original music score by Yoon S. Lee
Sound and final mix by Diego Perez

for more: ruahedelstein.blogspot.com