~ Eduardo Yagüe ~

Piedra negra sobre una piedra blanca / Black Stone on a White Stone by César Vallejo

A new Moving Poems production, remixing Vallejo’s classic poem prognosticating his own death with time-lapse photography and Creative Commons-licensed music (from Magna Ingress). For the translation, I enlisted the help of some friends with better Spanish than mine: Jean Morris and Natalie d’Arbeloff, among others, on the Poetry from the Other Americas Facebook group. Another member of the group, the Spanish filmmaker and actor Eduardo Yagüe, was kind enough to supply the voiceover.

Shockingly, this is the first Vallejo poem on Moving Poems. I can’t think of any other Latin American poet of his stature whom I’ve so neglected. I did make one other video for a poem of his some years ago, but I guess I must’ve decided it wasn’t quite up to snuff.

El hombre imaginario (The Imaginary Man) by Nicanor Parra

The great Chilean poet Nicanor Parra died on January 23 at the age of 103, so I wanted to make a video for one of his poems as a tribute, especially since there didn’t seem to be any real videopoems or poetry films of his work on the web. I asked some fellow fans of Latin American poetry on Facebook for suggestions of poems, and “El hombre imaginario” came up. It had been translated before—by Edith Grossman, no less—but we all found her decision to depart from the plain meaning of the text in order to imitate the word order of Spanish odd and unfortunate. The Spanish poetry-filmmaker Eduardo Yagüe is a member of the group, and agreed to read the poem for the soundtrack when I mentioned I had an idea for a videopoem. I found the music—an accordion track by the composer Steven O’Brien—on Soundcloud, and the footage was something I’d downloaded from the one-person stock video channel Beachfront B-Roll a while ago.

Two different appreciations of Parra have appeared in major North American literary magazines in recent days: “Nicanor Parra, the Alpha-Male Poet” by David Unger in The Paris Review blog, and “Remembering Nicanor Parra, the Almost Immortal Chilean Poet” by Alejandro Zambra in The New Yorker.

As Mãos / Hands by Bernardo Pinto de Almeida

The words and voice of the contemporary Portuguese poet Bernardo Pinto de Almeida are featured in this new film from Belgian filmmaker and composer Marc Neys A.K.A. Swoon, who writes, in part:

I used the reading on Lyrikline (Audio production: Casa Fernando Pessoa, Lisboa 2004 ) to create the soundtrack. The audio version is based on a former version of the poem before called ‘Maturidade 2’
The translation [by Ana Hudson] was used as subtitles.

Bernardo Pinto de Almeida has a natural capacity for weaving a cloth so that the poem reveals itself as if a picture of a living body on a canvas of words and images.’
(Guy Barker, British poet, 1964-2009)

Guy Barker’s quote (and the content of the poem) led me back to the footage Eduardo Yagüe made for me during the summer of 2014.
I guess I almost used every bit he filmed and am grateful for his ‘eye’

Bringing it all together was fairly easy.
I graded some of the footage for a higher contrast.
It was the flow of the reading and the pace of the music that gently steered me to the cutting choices I made. [links added]

Upcoming poetry-film screenings and festivals

Les Printemps des Poetes

Spring is almost upon us in the northern hemisphere, and with it some opportunities to see poetry films and videopoems on the big screen, with a cluster of events around the equinox.

March 12 in Leipzig
Lange Nacht Des Gedichtfilms: Google Translate renders that as “Long Night of the Poem Films,” which sounds rather dire, but apparently it will consist of “the award-winning films to poems from the audiobooks ‘Black fears’ and ‘Words are boats,'” with “skilful interplay between visual, narrative and auditory elements of style.” See the Facebook event page for full details.

March 19-21 in Bezons (right outside Paris)
Ciné Poème Festival de courts métrages de la ville de Bezons en partenariat avec le Printemps des Poètes. I don’t know much French, but “Printemps des Poètes” sounds pretty alluring. Visit their webpage (or see the English translation via Google) for the full details.

March 19-21 in Gijón, Asturias
Deletréame Poesía: I Festival de Poesía de Gijón includes a section called “Poesía Iluminada (palabra + imagen)” each day of the festival. On the 19th, the poetry filmmaker Eduardo Yagüe will be curating a selection of works. See the complete schedule on Facebook.

March 19-20 in Barcelona
PoetryFilm will be presenting two programs at the Kosmopolis Amplified Literature Festival at CCCB Barcelona. For the full list of films, see the PoetryFilm website. (And by the way, if you’re a filmmaker or videopoet, be sure to check out PoetryFilm’s guidelines for submission. “There is no deadline; submissions are ongoing and continuous throughout the year.”)

April is National Poetry Month in Canada and the U.S.
You’d think there would be poetry-film screenings planned for somewhere, but if so, I have yet to hear about any. (If you know of anything, please share the details.)

May 21 in Minneapolis
Motionpoems Season 6 World Premiere at the Walker Art Center. Make a donation via the Motionpoems front page and qualify for discounted reserved seats. (Also in Motionpoems-related news: they have a call-out for voice recordings to be used in one of their films. The deadline is March 14.)

May 24 in Edinburgh
Hidden Door arts and music festival will be including screenings from Filmpoem on the 24th. Mark your calendars and stay tuned for more information. And in the meantime, as reported here last week, Filmpoem submissions are open until May 1.

Poetry filmmakers Sina Seiler and Eduardo Yagüe featured in The Third Form

This month in her Third Form column at Connotation Press, poetry-film critic Erica Goss profiles and interviews two filmmakers who should be familiar to regular readers of Moving Poems: German documentary filmmaker Sina Seiler and the Spanish freelance director and poet Eduardo Yagüe. I learned a lot about both directors. For example,

Sina served as an intern at the 2008 Zebra Poetry Film Festival, and was involved in the pre-screening process (no small feat, as Zebra receives close to one thousand submissions). She remembers how it felt to watch so many poetry films: “It was so great that something like this existed. I immediately had the idea to make my own poetry film.” “Elephant” is the result, based on a poem Sina wrote. She added, “I have been writing poems since I was young, but I didn’t publish them – they were just for me. Nothing commercial.”

And this about Yagüe:

Eduardo’s influences include the German choreographer Pina Bausch, the British performance group DV8 Physical Theatre, and the work of Samuel Beckett. Themes of emotional and sexual tension are evident in Eduardo’s work, which his many talented actor friends aptly express.

“I know a lot of actors,” he said. “I am lucky that they want to be in my films. I love actors and poetry, so that’s what I want to do: mix the things that I love. And most actors are comfortable with poetry. We study poetry; it helps us learn to speak properly. Much of the spoken part of theater is poetry: Shakespeare, for example.”

Do read the rest (and watch the films). What each filmmaker has to say about their process is especially interesting.

Swoon’s View on poetry filmmaker Eduardo Yagüe

Spanish filmmaker Eduardo Yagüe’s “intuitive and deliquescent works” are the focus of Marc Neys’ column this month at Awkword Papercut. I’ve been intrigued by Yagüe’s recent poetry films, so was glad to learn a bit more about him:

Eduardo Yagüe studied Dramatic Arts and Spanish Language and Literature. In Madrid he worked as an actor in theater and film. Parallel, and as a hobby, he’s has been writing poetry and stories since he was fifteen. All these things show when you look at his films. Eduardo understands the language of the camera, the subtleties of timing and the potential of human expression.

Marc goes on to present and analyze two films, Insomnio and Amor. Check it out.

Improvisation and the directing of poetry films: an interview with Eduardo Yagüe

Filmmaker Eduardo Yagüe answered some questions from Nic S. as part of the Poetry Storehouse interview series, in the wake of his two video remixes of a poem by L.L. Barkat.

1.Would you briefly describe the remix work you have done based on poems from The Poetry Storehouse?

I’ve worked with one poem named “Love Song” by L.L. Barkat. I decided to make two versions, one in English (with the wonderful voice of Nic S.) and the other one in Spanish (for introducing The Poetry Storehouse to Spanish people), with different timelines, scripts and actors.

2. How is The Poetry Storehouse different from or similar to other resources you have used for your remix work?

Usually what I do is to choose a poem that inspires me to make a short poetry-film. So the only difference from other times was that this time I picked a poem directly from The Poetry Storehouse.

3. What specific elements do you look for when you browse offerings at the Storehouse (or, what is your advice to poets submitting to the Storehouse)?

As I work with actors and I really enjoy doing it (I’m an actor myself), I was searching for a poem that could give me a small story to work with. “Love Song” was perfect because it brings up to light some issues that I really like. For example, here we find love, light and a ghost.

4. Talk about how the remixing process comes together for you. For example, does your inspiration start with a poem, or with specific footage for which you then seek a poem?

I always begin choosing a poem. Afterwards what I need to do is to go out to Retiro Park in Madrid and do some running, which helps me to imagine a storyline and the actors I’ll need. Then when I start to record it, the work with the script is quite open and I like to improvise with it and with the actors: directing and working with them, is one of the parts I enjoy the most, next to the final work, the editing and cutting part, that I find pretty similar to the writing process of a poem.

5. Is there anything about the Storehouse process or approach that you feel might with benefit be done differently?

I really don’t know, maybe a Spanish version of The Poetry Storehouse, “El almacén de la Poesía” would be great, with both American and Spanish poems and with translations in both languages. And for that work I would gladly be at your service!!

6. Is there anything else you would like to say about your Poetry Storehouse experience?

It has been quite intense because the time I spent making both versions of “Love Song” was much less than the time I usually spend making one. Normally it takes me around two to three months to prepare and finish my work. This time I had to do it like this, in only three weeks, as we’re moving to Stockholm, me and my girlfriend.

On the whole it has been a wonderful experience with The Poetry Storehouse giving me the opportunity to open up a new and very interesting window that has allowed me to discover and get to know very interesting English-speaking poets.