September’s edition of “The Third Form,” Erica Goss’ column on videopoetry at Connotation Press, features interviews with two people whose work I’ve been following for a long time. Yorkshire poet Gaia Holmes (Moving Poems archive) was among the first poets to have her work animated for Comma Press back in 2006, and she’s been a consistent favorite of British poetry filmmakers over the years — a good example of how emerging poets or those from outside the establishment can get a big boost in visibility by letting their works be adapted for film.
“I don’t have any say about the videos,” she said. “I’m not involved in their making. I go to the screening and there’s the poem, but I’m happy it turns out that way. When a poem is out in the world, it’s open to anyone’s interpretation. For example, the video for ‘Occasional China’ takes the poem in a completely different direction from what I imagined.”
In the the second half of her column, Goss talks with American poet, filmmaker and digital literature expert Matt Mullins (Moving Poems archive), whose work first caught my eye back in 2009 — the year he discovered videopoetry, it turns out. The interview focuses on a series of three films he’s made collaboratively with the Belgian filmmaker Swoon (Marc Neys).
“I gave Matt several videos with music and said he could re-edit them, add new music, combine as he saw fit,” Swoon said. “The videos I sent Matt were finished products and/or experiments that were not properly used before. They might have never seen daylight if it wasn’t for Matt’s vision and creativity to breathe a new and different life into them.”
Click through for the full interviews and to watch the films.
Speaking of Swoon, I was pleased to see another installment of his column on videopoetry, as well. This month at Awkword Paper Cut he examines “The ephemeral worlds of Sandra Salter & Benedict Newbery,” a British animator-poet team who have made two films so far, both striking for their use of watercolor and a certain quality which Neys characterizes as “simple and naïve, almost. But … rich and … full of life.” As usual with a “Swoon’s View” column, his experience and insider perspective is invaluable, e.g.:
I’ve seen this video on different occasions, in different venues. On large screens, on small screens. It never fails, never disappoints. I rarely saw an animated video that came this close to imitating real life, yet not looking like it.
These videos prove that big budgets are not always needed to deliver fantastic work. A warm love for the words, intelligent use of sources and a playful feel for rhythm and illustration can do so much more than money.