Some thoughts on videopoetry


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My first, and probably last, vlog-style video. If you’re on dial-up or have a strict bandwidth allowance, this is nothing terribly special: just a few, very basic observations about videopoetry presented in what I hope is a humorous style. The main hosting site for more artistically conscious filmmakers, Vimeo — source of at least 80 percent of what I post at Moving Poems — encourages users to designate an introductory video for visitors to their profile page, so that was my excuse. These are literally the first things that popped into my head: I didn’t do any advance preparation whatsoever. (Please note that this does include some mild NSFW language, depending on where you work. Like the late George Carlin, I tend to regard cuss words as analagous to hot sauce on food, and I do like hot sauce.)

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Dave Bonta (bio) crowd-sources his problems by following his gut, which he shares with 100 trillion of his closest microbial friends — a close-knit, symbiotic community comprising several thousand species of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. In a similarly collaborative fashion, all of Dave’s writing is available for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. For attribution in printed material, his name (Dave Bonta) will suffice, but for web use, please link back to the original. Contact him for permission to waive the “share alike” provision (e.g. for use in a conventionally copyrighted work).

8 Comments


  1. Dave, this is wonderful, really. Your off-the-cuff, slightly cranky but friendly delivery suits the message perfectly and so does the forest background. And the added text memos are an added touch of genius. You are a natural communicator and should have your own daily TV slot, I have no doubt that you would have a huge cult following. Now I feel like rushing off to create a video poem – that’s how inspiring you were.
    Let’s have more!

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    1. Thanks, Natalie! Much as I appreciate your enthusiasm, though, I’m not sure what kind of cult would follow me. I shudder to think, actually. But hey, if this inspires you to get back into the medium genre, that in inself would more than repay my effort here.

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  2. I loved this, although (or because) there you were on my computer screen swearing loudly when my boss arrived in my office to introduce a new colleague!

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  3. Can we also blame fucking Strauss for the false equivalence of atmospheric in another art = “poem,” or is “tone poem” a later-applied characterization? (N.B. I adore the Strauss work, just not the label.)

    Nice rant. I’m with you: v. painful to view substantial film chops wasted on poetic dreck, or literal interpretation. Of all visual artists, you would assume that film-makers most attuned to the word, or most likely to number writers as reality-check acquaintances. I wonder what pieces Peter Schjeldahl, former poet/current art critic, likes and why.

    Finally, crashing acorns were quite the disappointment. I truly was expecting a mutant porcupine.

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    1. Oh yeah, sorry about that. If I had better video editing software, I could’ve brought in the porcupine from one of my other videos. At the very least I could’ve put gel in my hair and made it all prickly.

      Good point about the probable influence of “symphonic poem” or (worse yet) “tone poem” on filmmakers and their “visual poems.” The rather exhaustive Wikipedia article on the subject credits Liszt with the invention of the genre.

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  4. I got a kick out of this, but thinking about videopoetry in film school these days makes me a but jealous simply because the economics of modern digital video allow so much more experimentation than when I was in school (early 90’s). There were a few of us dabbling in experimental genres/forms and I did as well, but those were the days when editing was done with tape and razorblades and every time you turned on the camera you were burning film which we college students measured in dollars per second. Experimentation was expensive and a short video could cost hundreds of dollars, take weeks to put together and no one would see it. As a result some good ideas (and probably lots of bad ones) never got done. These are exciting times for those of us into this sort of thing.

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    1. Wow. Very interesting. I hadn’t really thought about how much cheaper and faster video production has become in the last few years.

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