Reprieve (videopoem for Luisa)


Watch on Vimeo – watch on Youtube

Luisa A. Igloria turned 50 today. Online birthday commemorations usually strike me as fairly pointless, but I wanted to do something special for the genius poet who has contributed so much wonderful content to Via Negativa over the past nine months, and what better than a videopoem? I’ve shied away from envideoing Luisa’s poems until now because they struck me as rather too challenging for a videopoemographer of my basic skill level, being both rich in imagery and usually fairly long. But I saw some cool footage at the British Film Institute the other night, free for non-commercial use under something called a Creative Archive Licence, and today I went through Luisa’s poem archive here until I found one I thought might work with it: “Reprieve,” from back on August 2. Then for the soundtrack, I floundered around on SoundCloud for a while until I got the idea of searching for something with “kisses” (a central image of the poem’s) in the title or description, and the first track that came up worked brilliantly, I thought.

I wish I had a higher-resolution version of the film clips to work with, but beggars can’t be choosers, as my mom always says. It was fun to cut and splice and see how well I could make filmic and poetic images line up. Happy birthday, Luisa!

16 Comments


  1. Dave, you have become a film maker. Your skills in selecting and then combining images with words and music fill me with admiration. (And I never tire of your reading. Anne Wolf told me the day the exhibition closed that she was always mesmerised when she listened to the recordings of you in the gallery!)

    Happy fiftieth birthday celebrations Luisa. I love Dave’s film of your haunting poem. A fine collaboration. Brava Bravo!

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  2. Rats, my last night’s comment must have been eaten–just wanted to say what a grand present it was, Dave!

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  3. Wonderful choice of film clips to go with the poem and the voice and music also blend seamlesly with the content. A perfect birthday present for the most prolific and gifted poet Luisa.

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  4. This is wonderful, but the film images are so entrancing I had to watch it several times before being able to process both them and the words together. I remember the poem well, particularly the lingering nuzzle of perfume of the last lines. I have spent a happy couple of hours now browsing the BFI online, discovering this film and others from the fabulous British Transport Films. I spent about 12 hours yesterday within an area of about half a mile radius around Waterloo Station but didn’t see any obvious convicts :-) Did you read that the director staged most of it?

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    1. Back in the era of great big bulky film cameras, I imagine very few documentaries were without staging. But that’s interesting that this one was more fiction than non-. I almost like it better knowing that.

      This is wonderful, but the film images are so entrancing I had to watch it several times before being able to process both them and the words together.

      Thanks. To me, that’s a good thing — my goal with videopoems is to make something that people will want to watch repeatedly, so the poem kind of insinuates its way into your consciousness, not unlike a pop song on heavy rotation.

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  5. Oh, and very happy birthday Luisa! And many thanks for sharing your wonderful poetry in this glorious conversation.

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