videopoem – ‘anche tu sei l’amore’ by Cesare Pavese

Am finding I have a tendency to use certain footage two or three times, in different lengths or presentations. Like images in writing poetry, maybe – as when you find yourself repeating certain themes and images until you have written them out of your system. In this case, that eye (looking like a girl’s, an owl’s, a kestrel’s and who knows what else) and those Sufi girl dervishes (I always thought dervishes were always men – I was wrong!) are sticking with me, most definitely.

videopoem – ‘L’infinito’ by Giacomo Leopardi

Based on a recent Pizzicati of Hosanna reading.

Realized that so far it’s been mostly the Italian readings at Pizzicati of Hosanna that I’ve wanted to do video work for (hands-down favorite video so far: Forse Il Cuore by Salvatore Quasimodo). So far, we have three Italian videos, one Spanish, and no French. Still working out why this is so, especially since – knowing pretty much zero about any of those canons starting out – I am going for the obvious, the well-fingered and most-anthologized French, Spanish and Italian poems (whose authors are dead). The net result for me has been: very minor resonance with the French, somewhat more with the Spanish, and most with the Italian. They feel essentially very different to me. Foolhardy to generalize and stereotype, especially on so short an acquaintance, but I’ll stick my neck out and say the Italian ones have so far struck me as the most spiritually sophisticated. I’ll let you know if I still think that next week.

On a technical level, feel I may be getting to grips with layering. Still not able to get PowerDirector to do *exactly* what I want, but feel much more in control. This video stuff really “do by doing.” Impossible to lay out story-lines or visual narratives without getting hands on, without literally setting up the images and actually viewing them unfurl with the text. Neat sequences played out perfectly in your mind beforehand rarely work on the screen, I’m finding, and the process is essentially ‘well, that didn’t work, so how about this…?” repeated over and over again, until you get that right combination to which your whole body reacts. (Yeah – just like it reacts when you *know* you’ve found the perfect phrase or line for that poem you’re working on..).

review of ‘Forever Will End On Thursday’

Forever Will End On Thursday is reviewed at Verse Wisconsin by Sherry Chandler.

Frabjous! Very appreciative of the care and thought Sherry put into the review and particularly love that she focused on the multi-format nature of the collection – specifically, collection-as-paper vs collection-as-sound, and the fact that the poem-as-page is a different animal from the poem-as-voice.

Sherry writes: “The overlapping experiences of the two modes [reading & listening] served to illustrate how very different it is to see a poem and to hear a poem. My eye saw the strangeness in the verse; her voice enhanced the musicality of the lines. It’s not the same poem on the page that it is in the ear.”

Go read the whole thing and check out the rest of the riches (a great selection of poems, book reviews and essays) in this terrific issue of Verse Wisconsin.

Pizzicati of Hosanna update

Just getting these Pizzicati of Hosanna items into this blog’s archive:

Swoon made this terrific video of a Peter Quince at the Clavier reading and Dave Bonta made this great one of an H.D. reading (‘Orchard’).

New up at POH today: part II of T.S. Eliot’s Ash Wednesday and Marino by Vicente Huidobro. Ash Wednesday was a totally random choice and I chose part II because to be honest it’s the only segment of that whole piece I’ve ever really focused on. Now, of course, after paying proper voice & body attention to it, I want to read & record the whole thing. Voice truly is an organ of investigation – I started figuring that out with Whale Sound and am becoming progressively more dependent on voice to tell me what I think and like.

videopoem – ‘Idrissa’s Song’

Still fiddling with text vs voice in videopoems. For this one, I wanted to make a videopoem using both text and voice and to start out knowing which parts would be voice and which would be text. I considered trying to make a video from one of the antiphonies in Dark and Like A Web (antiphony on the plain and antiphony in the hills). With two ‘voices’ clearly delineated in each poem, it would be easy to work the duality, I thought. But I ran into imaginative problems, in that I couldn’t think of anything but the most literal footage (giraffe, volcano, mamba, storm clouds, church bells) to illustrate either of the poems. Then I thought of using an epigraph. How about making an epigraph the text portion and weaving it through the poem body, which would be in voice? I used this Hugo of St. Victor quotation as an epigraph for a 4,000-word fantasy on place and belonging I have been working on forever, but for this project I combined the epigraph with a condensed version of a much shorter poem in the same vein. I continue to be very frustrated with the limited text animation capabilities of my software (PowerDirector, which is otherwise excellent), and have now decided to investigate ‘text animation’ as a separate capability.

Text of videopoem:

‘The person who finds his homeland sweet is a tender beginner; he to whom every soil is as his native one is already strong; but he is perfect to whom the entire world is as a foreign place.’

– Hugo of St. Victor

‘Idrissa’s Song’ by Nic Sebastian

wake me, then, from sleep among the shrimp pools of Khulna, from mirrors at midnight and blueness in dark

under an owl sky, I will shed my sleeping mat and step to the bamboo frontier of my domain: a hut of thatch on stilts, bound in bamboo and reed, rising fragile over the jet and silver pools lying beneath my sleep

is not each pool a door

a jackal barks
and, freed, I stride away
to wild bee song
to the black dark of Sundarban honey
and the mangrove forest
to swarm beneath the twisted
naked root of the sea tree
and hear the Bengal tiger’s hunger call
and feel its rage upon me,
who am stranger and tall, and young, and hard

the heat of blood runs down my back and thighs
and the hills of Rangamati are steep
elephants roam these hills

in the teak forest, great shadows sear my rushing skin
and when I reach the road to Chittagong
I see I have been branded
with elephant mark