~ Brenda Clews ~

“Video & Film Poetry” group on Vimeo

The video sharing site Vimeo tends to get a higher proportion of well-made videos than YouTube, but even still, many poetry-related videos uploaded to the site are not terribly impressive as examples of the filmmaker’s art. I know, because one of the primary ways I find new material for Moving Poems is by searching new Vimeo uploads for anything with the word “poem” in the title, tags or description. I see a lot of dreck.

So I’m very impressed with the new Vimeo group devoted to Video & Film Poetry, which was founded by Brenda Clews just a couple months ago. She had tried to convince me to start such a group, but I declined on the grounds that I was already doing enough here, so she went ahead and founded the group herself — and I think the results so far speak for themselves: a lot of interesting and innovative videopoets have joined the group now, and are adding their new uploads as well as other people’s videos that they might happen to know about. There’s some commenting, but so far it’s been mainly a place to share and discover new work.

This isn’t the first Vimeo group to welcome poetry videos, but I believe it’s the first to take curating seriously. The problem with completely open poetry-sharing sites is that the bad poetry (or videopoetry, in this case) tends to drive out the good. The crucial difference with the Video & Film Poetry group is that, though anyone can comment or participate in the (so-far-unused) forums, only members can add videos or invite new members. If you’re on Vimeo and you’d like an invitation, let me know.

Introducing VidPoFilm

I am announcing the birth of a new online journal: VidPoFilm.

VidPoFilm explores the poetics of video and film poetry and offers critiques of works in this genre.

I am both curating and editing the material at VidPoFilm. So far, I’m posting my Video and Film Poem Fridays articles.

VidPoFilm is open to submissions — only articles on other video and film poems, this is not a self-promotion site for me or any other video or film poets — but I won’t have a description of my requirements ready for another month or two. Articles can be pre- or co-published in your own blogs, this is preferable in fact. My only rule, so far, is one article per year per video or film poet. Brilliant work is being produced world-wide in this field and I do not foresee running out of material. I’ve put up a loose “About” page and welcome comments and questions, which will help me to articulate what the journal is and seeks.

Subscribe by RSS feed to the site. Blogger offers a state-of-the-art blog that enables you to watch the videos in your Readers. VidPoFilm is about disseminating video and film poems far and wide while offering a way to ‘read’ them. The stats on the videos and films discussed is more important than the stats on the journal site, so please watch the films — they are ‘top notch’! These flicks are the crème de la crème.

Videopoetry discussions elsewhere: text vs. voice, art or entertainment, and a new weekly column

Several interesting discussions of videopoetry theory and practice have popped up around the blogosphere over the past several weeks, initiated by videopoets whose names should be familiar to followers of Moving Poems.

1. Using text vs voice in videopoems

Nic S.’s thoughtful blog post responded to a point in Tom Konyves’ Videopoetry: A Manifesto about the use of visual text, and Tom stopped by to clarify what he meant in the comments. A fascinating conversation ensued.

2. Visible Verse Festival 2011 • Art or Entertainment; do I really have to choose?

Heather Haley, organizer of the Visible Verse festival in Vancouver (which I hope all Moving Poems followers from the Pacific northwest will be attending this weekend!), shares a bit of her thinking behind the festival in particular and the genre in general at her blog One Life.

Videopoetry or poetry video. Film or video? And then there is cinema to consider. I find semantics tedious. My reaction to the insistence there be a formal definition of the genre, is, why? Don’t we have enough divides? We live in the age of the mashup. Isn’t that merging? Fusion? Transformation? In any case, I have faith in the poet’s ability to render his or her poem. Via video or film, a poet will explore, push the boundaries of image, language and sound. Whether it’s illustrative or conceptual, I trust the poet to make choices, to create a work according to his individual style and sensibilities. Vision. While I can’t abide cliché or literal translations, surely there’s room for both narrative and non-narrative treatments. One man’s execution is another man’s experiment. One man’s amusement is another man’s pith.

3. “Friday Film and Video Poem” series at Rubies in Crystal

Aside from a scattering of brief, general essays and blog posts, plus occasional process notes from videopoets, there’s been an almost total lack of meaningful literary/film criticism of videopoetry and related genres focusing on individual films and artists. Brenda Clews has begun to fill this void with a weekly series at her blog.

  • A Hundred and Forty Suns by Jonathan Blair

    After the Kafkaesque beginning with insect-like noises that become a mechanical factory of looped wheels and cogs, the organic sound of drumming as the light increases is warm, comforting. And the light is shining, shining into the perception of the animated character who responds with joy, and into the screen where we as viewers feel that pleasure. Ultimately this film imparts joy, beauty, forgiveness, transcendence, the pulse of life renewed anew.

  • ‘immersion /2’ by Sheila Packa and Kathy McTavish

    Unlike traditional Bokeh, there is no foreground subject. Rather we are immersed in an ever-shifting slow-moving background. It is as if she composes abstract expressionist artwork before our eyes, painting with light and colour.

  • ‘Ground’ by Ginnetta Correli

    Ground is hauntingly beautiful, in a disturbing way. In the embracing mindfulness, a poetry of poison, death, loss, and beauty, all of which is natural, found in the natural world, amidst a surreality. We feel cross-currents, disambiguations, and yet the over-arching journey metaphor of Cook’s minimalist poetry, and the bond of love he speaks of, yes, living is like this. Simply a superb film.

  • ‘SHED’ by Christina McPhee

    I consider SHED a genre-crossing piece that brings together a poetry of drawing and video editing. It is a multiplicity, a place of vectors. The nodes and intensities are democratic, without hierarchy; they are nomads drawn into being by the brush of India and acrylic ink and red paint encrusted on the paper by the artist.

How to make subtitles for videos with YouTube captioning — new tutorial

Brenda Clews — sometime contributor to this forum and author of several videopoems on the main site — has knuckled down and figured out how to add subtitles to her YouTube videos using CaptionTube. Needless to say, captioning is an extremely valuable addition to videos not only for accessibility, but also to offer English translations of videopoems in other languages that can be turned off by those who know the languages. And YouTube captions in any of Google Translate’s languages can be machine-translated with a click of a button into any other. Brenda shares what she’s learned so far in a post at her blog.