Results of the Poetry Storehouse’s First Anniversary Contest

Remix Category results

by Erica Goss

From the judges (Dave Bonta, Erica Goss & Marc Neys):

The winner of best video for the Poetry Storehouse’s First Anniversary Contest is:

Marie Craven for “First Grade Activist”

(based on the poem by Nic S.)

Watch the video at Moving Poems’ main site.

In judging the contest, we looked for an overall fit between the poem, images and soundtrack. The winner had to demonstrate a sophisticated understanding of the elements of video poetry, blending them to create an artwork that is more than the sum of its parts.

As we evaluated the contest entries, we watched the videos many times over. Dave watched each video on different days, to try to eliminate the influence of whatever mood he might be in at the time, while Marc says he looked at “the total package, the crafting, as in editing skills, original camerawork, and the visual concept and originality.” For my part, I watched looking for that indescribable quality that a good video poem has, the juxtaposition of poetry, sound and image that jumps from the screen.

We agreed that “First Grade Activist” has those qualities. Dave said it had a “great populist aesthetic, as is appropriate for the subject matter. The music is fitting and compelling. The split screen with text on the left is on one hand reminiscent of a classroom blackboard, and on the other just a good choice for a self-referential poem like this one. I like everything about it.”

I thought it dealt well with a subject that’s gotten a lot of attention lately: bullying. I love that the poem imagines a “first grade activist” who combats bullying with a poem praising her friend’s red hair, the very attribute she’s getting teased for. As the children march down the hallway, little ones first, we feel the pain of the child who doesn’t fit in and the courage of her friend, who imagines a way to help.

Marc added, “The video is as crisp and fresh as a first school day, with a strong and taut concept in a tight execution. Good rhythm and good use of split screen in combination with the poem on screen (and the use of red in the letters). The music brings it together and gives it a nice build up, while the visuals remain the same. The video is clever and actually lifts the poem to a higher level.”

Congratulations to Marie Craven for winning the contest, and thanks to all who sent in their work.

Disclaimer: Although Nic S.’s voice and poem are part of the winning video, she had no part in the judging of the contest.

Poetry Category results

by Jessica Piazza

At the Poetry Storehouse, we believe multi-genre work is truly special. The best ekphrastic art will draw from the spirit of two (or more) separate works to truly create something new, ideally allowing the very best of multiple genres to shine in a single work.

As the judge of the poetry portion of the 2014 Poetry Storehouse Anniversary Contest, I was excited to see the new life our entrants would breathe into our video offerings. How would they respond, I wondered, to Marc Neys’ dark, psychological clip, Eduardo Yagüe’s gritty but hopeful urban commentary or Lori Ersolmaz’s semi-expressionist land- and water-scapes?

We could not be happier with the answer to that question. We were looking for poems of individual merit, of course, but more importantly we wanted pieces that paired with the visual imagery to tease out ideas, nuances and feelings that neither poem nor video could evoke on its own. And we found them.

Thus, we are proud to congratulate the winner of the poetry portion of the 2014 Poetry Storehouse Anniversary Contest.

“Backward Like a Ghost” by Amy Miller

(based on a film by Lori Ersolmaz)

We also chose three runners-up, one for each video presented to contest entrants:

“Muscle Memory” by Michael Biegner

(based on a film by Lori Ersolmaz)

“Foretold” by Luisa A. Igloria

(based on a film by Marc Neys)

“I Was Grass” by Amy Miller

(based on a film by Eduardo Yagüe)

The poetry entries were screened by Marielle Prince and Jessica Burnquist, who were indispensable to this process. Thanks to them, and to Lori, Eduardo and Marc for creating such incredible videos for this contest.

Editor’s note: We’ll share the poems on the main site along with the resulting video remixes when they are completed. Stay tuned.

About the winners

Marie Craven (music, videos) began making independent films on celluloid in the mid 1980s as part of the super 8 group in Melbourne, Australia. She was involved in experimental and narrative filmmaking on 16mm and 35mm throughout the 1990s and the short films she directed were successful on the international festival circuit. Screenings included the festivals of Cannes, Rotterdam, London, Sydney and about 100 others. In the 2000s the digital age saw her finding special interest in newer technologies and the possibilities of internet collaboration. Since this time she has collaborated widely as a vocalist for electronic musicians around the world. More recently she has returned to audiovisual arts through poetry video.

Amy Miller’s poetry has appeared in Nimrod, Rattle, Spillway, Willow Springs, and ZYZZYVA. Winner of the Cultural Center of Cape Cod National Poetry Competition, judged by Tony Hoagland, she has been a finalist for the Pablo Neruda Prize, the 49th Parallel Award, and the Hippocrates Prize for Poetry and Medicine. She works as the publications manager of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and blogs at Writer’s Island.

Michael Biegner has had work published in Blooms and Silkworm, and has taken part in Florence Poetry Society’s annual poetry festival. His prose poem (“When Walt Whitman Was A Little Girl”) was converted into a video short by North Carolina filmmaker Jim Haverkamp, where it has traveled across the nation and overseas, winning best of show and other honors in various film festivals. He has been part of UMASS MFA program’s Juniper Institute, studying with poets such as Matea Harvey, Matthew Zapruder and Dan Chelotti. He has taken part in Patrick Donnally’s Writing Poetry for Performance workshops. Biegner received his M.Ed in Education and is currently studying for his MAT where he hopes to teach writing. He lives in Western Massachusetts with his wife of many years.

Luisa A. Igloria‘s books include Ode to the Heart Smaller than a Pencil Eraser (Utah State University Press, selected by Mark Doty for the 2014 May Swenson Prize), Night Willow: Prose Poems (Phoenicia Publishing, Montreal, 2014), The Saints of Streets (2013), Juan Luna’s Revolver (2009 Ernest Sandeen Prize, UND Press), Trill & Mordent (WordTech Editions, 2005), and 8 other books. Luisa has degrees from the University of the Philippines, Ateneo de Manila University, and the University of Illinois at Chicago, where she was a Fulbright Fellow from 1992-1995. She currently directs the MFA Creative Writing Program at Old Dominion University. She enjoys cooking with her family, book-binding, and listening to tango music.

Dave is the founder of Moving Poems, and posts videos for his own poems (along with lots of other stuff) at Via Negativa. Here's a bio.