Walking Forest Blues


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Transcript:
I went to the woods to live haphazardly, from hand to mouth, marching like an army on my stomach. The path travels through me like a wave, like a particle. I’ve learned nothing, & am much the better for it — the forest teaches by confounding expectations. The bright orange of an eft, like the hair of a punk rocker, says: leave me alone. The spots on a fawn are a map to a country that doesn’t want to be found. The sun doesn’t move there, trapped in a net of trees. A hen turkey clucks not to lead her chicks, who disguise themselves as stones & vanish, but to lead me, her sudden unwanted charge — to draw me away. Which might turn out to be exactly where I was going.

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Speaking of forests, be sure to visit the June edition of the Festival of the Trees at Roundrock Journal. And for many more creepy-crawlies like the millipede in the video, check out the latest Circus of the Spineless, the blog carnival for invertebrates and the people who love them.

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I learned something about making poetry videos today: the addition of music can mean the difference between success and failure.

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I’m always excited to see other poet-bloggers making videos. Ren Powell recently launched a second blog to showcase her terrific poem animations, AnimaPoetics. I’m sure I’ll link to most of her videos at Moving Poems eventually, but do check out her site in the meantime. She’s posting new videos at the rate of roughly one a week.

17 Comments


  1. Nice! I enjoyed the orange lizard, both the line in the poem and the image in the video. Great stuff!

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    1. Thanks! (It’s actually not a lizard, but the terrestrial, juvenile form of a newt – an aquatic salamander. It’s poisonous, so the bright orange is indeed a warning color.)

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  2. Beautiful matching of words to images here Dave. I love the spots of a fawn line.

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    1. Thanks. I’m glad you liked that line — it’s the one I was proudest of.

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  3. I wish I’d written this text. Living haphazardly, from hand to mouth. Learning nothing. The confounding of expectations. It’s confounding too how “society” (a term I don’t care for but for which I don’t have a decent substitute) seems to expect us to learn constantly. I suppose it seems like an admirable and worthy expectation, but I don’t buy into it. I like to be lost myself. I loved the fawn in the video of course but also the red eft. The flare of that slow poisonous movement.

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    1. Hi Laura – No need to wish; you’ve written plenty of texts as good or better, though I notice you haven’t been linking your name to your Gaia blog lately.

      I suspect we learn most when we don’t think we’re learning at all. But since you’re an actual teacher, it’s interesting to hear you express such skepticism about learning!

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  4. And this is part of why living haphazardly appeals to me. I can’t think of anything fresh to say about learning and teaching. Neither the learning I’m supposed to be fostering nor my own place in the world of pedagogy feels organic or honest to me just now.

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    1. Oh dear. Well, they do still give you the summer off, right? Sounds as if an extended bout of haphazard living might be in order.

      (Sorry I don’t have a more thoughtful response. I know so many idealistic people who go into teaching, only to discover that education is the least of their responsiblities. The system is so fucked, I think it’s just incredibly hard for one person to make a difference.)

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  5. Beautiful juxtaposition of words and imagery Dave. But I like the musicality and the pitch and timbre of your voice so much, that I felt the added track was an intrusive element. However, that might just be me. I’m a bit oversensitive to music being added to what’s already perfect, though I realise it’s the way of things these days. The way I see it, your voice says it all and the images accompany that beautifully. The ‘mood’ of the music just intrudes. Too busy. I may be in a minority of one here, so change nothing on my account. Just an observation.

    However, just to shoot my argument (and my preference) down in flames, here’s a link to a trailer for a film that is certainly poetic in tone, and where the music doesn’t get in the way. Sleep Furiously is directed by Gideon Koppel, the son of my dear friend Pippi. In the trailer she’s calling for Jack, my own terrier, son of Daisy who is also present. Watch the bottom left of frame closely. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fh9sGyYyTB8

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    1. Clive, if you’d seen the video before I added the music, I think you might change your mind. Something about it just didn’t gel. But really, I need to start conceiving of the soundtrack as a whole, before I start making the video. That’s going to be my new procedure starting today.

      That looks like a nice, slow-moving film – my favorite kind!

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  6. Fabulous, fabulous, fabulous. Fabuloso: the words, the voice, the forest creatures, the movie. I think I agree with Clive about the music, maybe it wasn’t necessary. Icing on an already perfect cake? But I’m not sure, maybe it’s okay.

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    1. Thanks, Natalie. I appreciate the reactions of a fellow amateur video experimenter!

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  7. Super. I did like the music. For me, it seemed subdued enough to be a nice addition and somehow seemed to go with the whole piece, especially the part with the turkey. Thanks for the heads-up re: Ren’s poem animations.

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    1. Hi Bev – I’m glad it worked for you. I didn’t spend as much time hunting for a soundtrack as I could’ve, but the track I found sounded right, bluesy without actually being a blues, a little torchy but not too.

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