~ criticism ~

Zachary Schomburg’s Poem-Film “Your Limbs Will Be Torn Off In a Farm Accident” featured as a “last poem I loved” at The Rumpus

The popular arts and culture magazine The Rumpus has a regular feature called “The Last Poem I Loved,” and the April 26 installment, by Dena Rash Guzman, focuses explicitly on the film version of a poem. This is of note not simply because it will be widely read, but because such detailed and highly personal reader/viewer responses to videopoems are far from common.

I didn’t really read the poem. The poem is a movie, too. I heard and saw and loved the poem.

It was like me. I was the poem already; my own limbs had been torn off when I moved to a farm in the Oregon woods, where I became a sort of tree. That reads as little bit new age, but I can explain the metaphor no better than Schomburg does in his poem-film. It is his own. It could be a redneck metaphor, or a hippie one, an academic one, or a Freudian one. Sometimes a metaphor is just a cigar.

I mean only to say, I met this poem at a time when it might have saved my life and I have returned to it many times since for CPR.

Read the rest (and watch the video)

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.