~ Poet: e.e. cummings ~

“wherelings whenlings” by e.e. cummings as interpreted by John Cage

A beautifully filmed rendition of John Cage’s composition Forever and Sunsmell, performed by Dorothy Gal, Christopher Salvito, and Jessica Tsang and filmed and recorded by Christopher Salvito.

The title and text of Forever and Sunsmell are from 26, one of 50 poems (1940) by e.e. cummings. Some lines and words have been omitted, others have been repeated or used in an order other than that of the original. The humming and vocalise (not part of the poem) are an interpolation.

That’s from the video description. There’s a longer analysis of the piece at allmusic.com that talks about its place in Cage’s artistic development. For the complete text of the original poem, click through to Vimeo.

“the hours rise up putting off stars and it is” by e.e. cummings


A novel approach to poetry-filmmaking, and one that fits the poem well: cycling through the text again and again, in different voices, the way a musical round is sung. Elizabeth Wilkins directs.

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in… by e.e. cummings

Director/producer and editor Jacqueline Donahue was assisted by director of photography Nathan Ng and actors Naomi Khanukayev and Sami Lodi. I like the fact that the father in the poem, from whose perspective the film was shot, is never shown, and the relationship between the daughter and a boyfriend adds an interesting dimension to the text (which may be read at the Poetry Foundation website).

For a very different videopoetic interpretation, see Experimental Film: Heart by Coenraad Viviers.

(once like a spark) by e.e. cummings

This too-brief film is from someone named Bikrant Pakhrin.

somewhere i have never travelled,gladly beyond by e.e. cummings

Another Josep Porcar videopoem. If I understand the credits correctly, the filming is by Brenno Castro. Susanne Abbuehl contributed the entire soundtrack, music and voice. The Catalan translation in the subtitles is by Isabel Robles Gómez and Jaume Pérez Montaner. I particularly like the decision to have a female reader — it gives an already great poem a new dimension.

from “i carry your heart with me(i carry it in” by e.e. cummings


The young South African filmmaker Coenraad Viviers and his assistants had perhaps a bit too much fun with this section of cummings’ poem. (Read the complete poem at the Poetry Foundation website.)

may i feel said he by e.e. cummings

This is You and Me by Karsten Krause, which uses footage of her taken by Hans Krause. As the description at Vimeo puts it: “A woman is walking towards her husband’s camera for four decades. A love story on small gauge film.”

See here for the text of the poem.

somewhere i have never travelled,gladly beyond by e.e. cummings

“People and places from a recent trip to San Diego, CA,” says documentary photojournalist and filmmaker Kristyn Ulanday in the description at Vimeo. I think she rather understates the awesomeness of this videopoem. (For the text of the poem, see Poets.org.)

No. XLII by e. e. cummings


Another text-only videopoem, but today with a soundtrack. I’m not crazy about the font-choice — for some reason, I have trouble seeing a Cummings poem in anything but a typewriter font — but otherwise this strikes me as a highly successful re-imagining of the text.

Nic S. blogged about “using text vs voice in videopoems” the other day, and it’s sparked an interesting discussion in the comments, with videopoetry pioneer Tom Konyves weighing in.

Poem by e. e. cummings (“Buffalo Bill’s defunct”)

“An e.e. cummings poem I interpreted for my film production class. Shot on a dvx100b. Cut on Final Cut Pro,” says Jean-Paul Huang. Somewhat melodramatic, but so’s the poem. (An animation of the same poem by a different filmmaker that I posted a couple months ago has been removed from Vimeo.)

e.e. cummings in an ad for Sonic audiobooks

If there’s a non-controversial way to use a classic poem in a commercial, this might be it. The line from cummings (a fragment of #35 from 100 Selected Poems) is read and “un-read” by four very different voices in a way meant to dramatize the variations in a reading voice, unlining the audiobook publisher’s slogan: “Giving literature a personality.” My immediate reaction is, “Wow. There’s a market for audio books of poetry!?” Since the product being advertised here is so close to the poet’s own characteristic production, the use of his words seems entirely appropriate. And freed from the kind of angst evoked by the Levi’s Whitman ads, we can see that in fact the ingredients of a successful short videopoem — simplicity, quirk, surprise — are not too different from the ingredients of a successful television spot.