Improvisation and the directing of poetry films: an interview with Eduardo Yagüe

Filmmaker Eduardo Yagüe answered some questions from Nic S. as part of the Poetry Storehouse interview series, in the wake of his two video remixes of a poem by L.L. Barkat.

1.Would you briefly describe the remix work you have done based on poems from The Poetry Storehouse?

I’ve worked with one poem named “Love Song” by L.L. Barkat. I decided to make two versions, one in English (with the wonderful voice of Nic S.) and the other one in Spanish (for introducing The Poetry Storehouse to Spanish people), with different timelines, scripts and actors.

2. How is The Poetry Storehouse different from or similar to other resources you have used for your remix work?

Usually what I do is to choose a poem that inspires me to make a short poetry-film. So the only difference from other times was that this time I picked a poem directly from The Poetry Storehouse.

3. What specific elements do you look for when you browse offerings at the Storehouse (or, what is your advice to poets submitting to the Storehouse)?

As I work with actors and I really enjoy doing it (I’m an actor myself), I was searching for a poem that could give me a small story to work with. “Love Song” was perfect because it brings up to light some issues that I really like. For example, here we find love, light and a ghost.

4. Talk about how the remixing process comes together for you. For example, does your inspiration start with a poem, or with specific footage for which you then seek a poem?

I always begin choosing a poem. Afterwards what I need to do is to go out to Retiro Park in Madrid and do some running, which helps me to imagine a storyline and the actors I’ll need. Then when I start to record it, the work with the script is quite open and I like to improvise with it and with the actors: directing and working with them, is one of the parts I enjoy the most, next to the final work, the editing and cutting part, that I find pretty similar to the writing process of a poem.

5. Is there anything about the Storehouse process or approach that you feel might with benefit be done differently?

I really don’t know, maybe a Spanish version of The Poetry Storehouse, “El almacén de la Poesía” would be great, with both American and Spanish poems and with translations in both languages. And for that work I would gladly be at your service!!

6. Is there anything else you would like to say about your Poetry Storehouse experience?

It has been quite intense because the time I spent making both versions of “Love Song” was much less than the time I usually spend making one. Normally it takes me around two to three months to prepare and finish my work. This time I had to do it like this, in only three weeks, as we’re moving to Stockholm, me and my girlfriend.

On the whole it has been a wonderful experience with The Poetry Storehouse giving me the opportunity to open up a new and very interesting window that has allowed me to discover and get to know very interesting English-speaking poets.

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