~ Whale Sound ~

Call for submissions or your poems are dying to be a videopoem triptych

Whale Sound, Cello Dreams and Swoon are looking for poems with which to create a videopoem triptych.

Do you have a group of three poems you’d like to have published as videopoems? They could be three of your own poems, a set of three separate-but-related poems by you and two other poets, or a set of three poems written collaboratively by two or more poets.

We are a trio of artists — Nic S., poet/reader; Kathy McTavish, musician; and Swoon, film-maker — who have come together to pioneer this novel method of poetry publication.

Flight, a videopoem based on a poem by Helen Vitoria, is an example of our collaboration.

To get a sense of how your videopoem triptych would look and sound after publication, visit Night Vision.

Send 3 to 5 poems in the body of an email to Nic at nic_sebastian at hotmail dot com or Swoon at swoonbildos at gmail dot com.

This Was Supposed to Be About Karl, But It Didn’t End Up That Way, by Sherry O’Keefe

A film called “Nightvision” by Swoon Bildos, which he blogged about (in Dutch) here. Fortunately for us English speakers, though — and for everyone who’s been following Swoon’s work — the poet, Sherry O’Keefe, blogged a conversation with him about the process of making this video, how he got into videopoetry and more.

The poem originally appeared in PANK, and was recorded by Nic S. for Whale Sound. The video includes some camera work by Kristoffer Jansson and Keith Marcel.

The Universe by Neil Ellman

Swoon Bildos’s latest videopoem credits

McDonsco, Double Jack Black, Citizen Exeptional for their images.

Respect for the people of Sandy River Lolo Pass, St. George and all the other places that get flooded these times.

The reading by Nic S. was produced for Whale Sound, and the poem may be read at its original site of online publication, Bolts of Silk. According to the bio at Whale Sound,

Neil Ellman is a retired educator living and writing in New Jersey. His poetry appears in numerous national and international print and online journals, in addition to four ekphrastic chapbooks.

Swoon blogged (in Dutch) about the making of this video here. Originally, he said, he thought of using imagery of the northern lights over snow and ice, but slowly shifted to the idea of a storm moving through trees. I’m pleased he went with his second thought and not the first, which would’ve been much too obvious a match with the poem, I think. It takes a lot of guts to try to envideo a poem called “The Universe.” I thought the closing image was especially effective.

Welcome to Hard Times by Howie Good


“Between the waves and the fog, we haven’t got a clue of what might be ahead of us,” Swoon writes about his latest film based on a poem from Howie Good’s Whale Sound audio chapbook, Threatening Weather. He credits Matthew Augustus for some of the images, and of course Nic S. for the reading.

Cuba and Coltrane by Nicelle Davis

A new Moving Poems production in support of the Whale Sound audio chapbook Studies in Monogamy: Poems by Nicelle Davis. For more about Nicelle, see her bio on the site. The reading is by Nic S., and the music is a cover of John Coltrane’s “Naima” by The VIG Quartet, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial license and uploaded to SoundCloud. I blogged about the making of the video at Via Negativa.

On Edward Hopper’s Automat by H.K. Hummel

A poem from H.K. Hummel’s online chapbook Handmade Boats, read by Nic S., gets the Swoon Bildos treatment (with additional camera work by David Michaud and Jason Kempnich).

Making a film for a poem about a painting represents a unique challenge for videopoets, I think. How to reference the mood or spirit of the original visual inspiration without resorting to out-right (and probably hopeless) imitation? In his Dutch-language blog, Swoon described his approach as follows (according to Google Translate):

Departed from night lights gliding images of cars and urban night life as background, I tried to tell the story of what (who) you do not see in the picture.

Is she really alone? Who sees it? She knows that people look at her?

What can happen after all the poem. After the painting.

An armed man lurks in ambush by Howie Good

Swoon’s latest in his series of videos for poems by Howie Good is something a bit different: a short called “Not Again (Pripyat),” using footage of the abandoned city in the Chernobyl evacuation zone, with Howie’s text appropriated for a kind of surreal documentary. Let me quote the description on Vimeo for the credits and such:

The images in the film are footage from a film about Pripyat (credit to Golden Movies Productions,2009)

Images before the disaster at the nuclear plant, images of the evacuation of the town, images of the ghost town now. Hence the title of the film, Not Again.

Although the poem by Howie is about other things and places, I wanted the images from Pripyat [to] add another dimension to the story, the poem, the atmosphere of the whole film.

Words: Howie Good
Voice: Nic S. for Whale Sound
Concept, videotreats, editing and music: Swoon

“An armed man lurks in ambush” is the title poem of a full-length collection forthcoming from Despertanto (who also published Howie’s third book, Everything Reminds Me of Me, back in March). The text of the poem may be read on a site Swoon has set up for the texts used in all his videopoems to date, as well as in the Whale Sound audio chapbook, Threatening Weather, in which it originally appeared.

The Stockholm Syndrome by Howie Good

For his fourth film for a Howie Good poem, Swoon enlisted the help of a couple of other cameramen. Here are the credits as given in the film description on Vimeo:

Words and voice: Howie Good
Camera: Diego Diaz, Anthony Jackson and Swoon
Treats, editing and music: Swoon

Credit and many thanks to: Diego Diaz (woman in shower) and Anthony Jackson (man on balcony) for their footage and great camerawork.

Howie sounds especially sinister slowed down like this. The stark black-and-white imagery and unusual wide-screen format are also a great fit with the poem, I thought.

The poem may be read online at Threatening Weather, the audio chapbook from Whale Sound.

hollow by Peter Stephens

A Moving Poems production, with the cooperation of Nic S. at Whale Sound, who agreed to let me use her reading for the soundtrack, and the author, who perhaps unwisely gave his permission without any constraints whatsoever. Read Peter’s original text at his blog, Slow Reads. I think it’s a spectacular poem, and I hope my video does it justice — or at least excites interest in the poet and the reader.

I found the rest of the soundtrack at ccMixter, and a public-domain film to poach footage from at the Prelinger Archives (just two of the many online resources I’ve found for videopoem makers — check out the whole list).