The Conversation

Video link.

A new poem-like thing gave me an excuse to use some video I’ve been hoarding.


Don’t forget to bookmark or subscribe to the feed for Moving Poems, where I’m posting other people’s videoetry at the rate of five a week, skipping the weekends. I’m having a blast hunting down poetry videos on the web (95% of it on YouTube, of course), and it looks as if it’ll be many months before I run out of material. Upcoming posts include poems by Paul Celan, Nazim Hikmet, Martin Espada, and Gabriela Mistral.

By the way, if anyone has an interest in helping out, I could definitely use help in finding and translating video poems in languages other than English and Spanish (and sometimes I need help in Spanish, too, but I don’t tend to let that stop me). You would of course get full credit and link-love.

Psalm for the Rapture: the movie

I’ve just been reminded that it’s Oscars night. I was very pleased to discover this afternoon that the Internet Archive has a movies and film section, which includes some classic films (I just re-watched my all-time favorite comedy, His Girl Friday) and a lot of Creative Commons-licensed stock footage. I lost no time downloading some of the latter to illustrate an old poem — which I see I illustrated with snapshots the first time around. (For a straight-text version, see here.)


Brent Goodman has just dipped a toe into the videoetry waters as well. Check out Meat to Carry Our Minds.

The Good Question

UPDATE: I rewrote the poem and remade the video on September 18, 2010. The post below refers to an earlier incarnation, using mostly the same footage.

Video link.

Although I’ve experimented with video poems before, this is the first one where I relied on audio for the text rather than superimposing the words on the screen. The footage was all shot this past Sunday, at the top of our field (which is also the top of the Plummer’s Hollow watershed). My friends Chris and Seung had come up from D.C. for a weekend of sledding, and while temperatures on Friday and Saturday stayed nice and cold, and we had some spectaular toboggan wipe-outs (which is the main point of tobogganing, as I understand it), on Sunday morning the thermometer climbed into the 40s (i.e. between 5 and 10 degrees Centigrade, for you farriners). The snow turned sticky. Snowballs flew back and forth like carrier pigeons with one basic but never monotonous message.

By the time we got to the top of the field it was time for some sunbathing, and that’s when Seung’s interest in snowball-making turned from skirmishing to art, as seen in the film.

I wanted to see if I could make a video shorter than a minute and a half, primarily because my most common reaction to other amateur videos is that they aren’t edited well enough. I’m sure there are still lots of things I could improve, though. I don’t particularly like the sound of my own voice, and in general the video doesn’t come close to conforming to the idea I had in advance. There are a lot of avant-gardey things I simply don’t know how to do, and probably can’t do until I get better video editing software (on order). But it’s a start.

For inspiration I am indebted to the poets who have been making videos for qarrtsiluni, especially Christine Swint, who recently tried to stir up interest in the art at Read Write Poem as well.

Incidentally, I also have a photo of Seung up on the photo blog — a badly underexposed, low-resolution snapshot taken with the camcorder that I altered almost beyond recognition in the digital darkroom for a portrait of an altered state which is not, I assure you, an accurate representation of our condition at the time.

Planned Obsolescence

Video link.

It’s been a while since I made a video postcard. Both halves of this video were shot from the same location, right outside my door. The flying ants emerge from my weed garden every year about this time, around 4:00 p.m. on a warm afternoon in early October — in fact, I spliced in a little bit of footage from last year’s emergence.