~ Poet: Nic S. ~

First Grade Activist by Nic S.

This film by Marie Craven is the remix category winner of the Poetry Storehouse First Anniversary Contest. The challenge was to “Create a remix (a video remix, an art collage, a soundscape, a sound collage, or surprise us) in response to any Storehouse poem currently up at the site.” Erica Goss, Marc Neys and I were the video judges, but in fact all the remix entries were videos, so our top pick was the category winner.

On the poetry side of the contest, Jessica Piazza picked a winner and three runners-up, and I’ll be sharing the resulting ekphrastic videopoems by Neys, Eduardo Yagüe and Lori Ersolmaz as they are completed. Please see the full announcement at Moving Poems Magazine. Let me just quote what Erica Goss wrote about why we selected First Grade Activist.

In judging the contest, we looked for an overall fit between the poem, images and soundtrack. The winner had to demonstrate a sophisticated understanding of the elements of video poetry, blending them to create an artwork that is more than the sum of its parts.

As we evaluated the contest entries, we watched the videos many times over. Dave watched each video on different days, to try to eliminate the influence of whatever mood he might be in at the time, while Marc says he looked at “the total package, the crafting, as in editing skills, original camerawork, and the visual concept and originality.” For my part, I watched looking for that indescribable quality that a good video poem has, the juxtaposition of poetry, sound and image that jumps from the screen.

We agreed that “First Grade Activist” has those qualities. Dave said it had a “great populist aesthetic, as is appropriate for the subject matter. The music is fitting and compelling. The split screen with text on the left is on one hand reminiscent of a classroom blackboard, and on the other just a good choice for a self-referential poem like this one. I like everything about it.”

I thought it dealt well with a subject that’s gotten a lot of attention lately: bullying. I love that the poem imagines a “first grade activist” who combats bullying with a poem praising her friend’s red hair, the very attribute she’s getting teased for. As the children march down the hallway, little ones first, we feel the pain of the child who doesn’t fit in and the courage of her friend, who imagines a way to help.

Marc added, “The video is as crisp and fresh as a first school day, with a strong and taut concept in a tight execution. Good rhythm and good use of split screen in combination with the poem on screen (and the use of red in the letters). The music brings it together and gives it a nice build up, while the visuals remain the same. The video is clever and actually lifts the poem to a higher level.”

Congratulations to Marie Craven for winning the contest, and thanks to all who sent in their work.

The music in the soundtrack is by Dementio13, and the film footage is courtesy of the Prelinger Archives. See the contest results announcement for Craven’s bio.

On a personal note, I was pleased that the winning film was made with a poem by Nic S., even though this barely registered when I was evaluating the entries. Nic is of course the driving force behind The Poetry Storehouse, and added some of her poems at the beginning (as did I) mainly to set a good example and get the ball rolling. She works tirelessly to promote others’ poetry, lending her wonderful reading voice to many projects and creating a huge number of remixes herself, but her own poetry deserves to be much better known.

we were ten by Nic S.

A new Moving Poems production, once again using not just the voice but also the poetry of Nic S.. This is the opening poem of her nanopress collection Forever Will End On Thursday. Nic was kind enough to record a new audio version of the poem especially for this video, since I took an opposite tack from my usual approach and tried to reproduce something of the feel of the text on the page, going line by line and using a different shot for each stanza, with a repeating shot for the spaces in between. I blogged about the process at Via Negativa, as usual.

homesteader by Nic S.

Another Moving Poems production for a poem by Nic S., read by the author, from her book Forever Will End On Thursday (text here). I blogged about the making of the video at Via Negativa the other day.

on being constantly civil towards death by Nic S.

A new Moving Poems production in support of Nic S.’s chapbook Dark And Like a Web: Brief Notes On and To the Divine, which is available in a variety of media: online text with audio players; free downloads in MP3, PDF, EPUB and MOBI formats; audio CD and print-on-demand.

For links to more of Nic S.’s work, see her blog Very Like a Whale. Nic’s other online projects include the audio poetry journal Whale Sound and Whale Sound Audio Chapbooks. I blogged about the making of this video last night at Via Negativa, for anyone who’s interested in the process.

the wanderer’s blessing by Nic S.

This new Moving Poems production features a poem and reading by Nic S. from her collection Forever Will End on Thursday. She blogged her reaction to the video here. “The wanderer’s blessing” originally appeared in the online journal Escape Into Life.

For more about Nic, including links to a number of her poems online, see the bio page at her blog.