‘Spiders’ – process notes for a video remix

This was one piece for which I had no clear idea when I started. Sometimes I think when poets submit their work to The Poetry Storehouse they tend to choose pieces they consider very ‘visual,’ with a vague idea that a film-maker will naturally choose to reify their original vision in the poem with matching film imagery. And that is certainly one way to approach poetry film-making. Like many others, however, I prefer to come at poems slant-wise – to avoid ‘literal’ translations and create a separate, stand-alone visual interpretation.

So I knew that in this case, I couldn’t use actual spider footage. Finding out what I could use started with voice. After having fun with this multilingual Tower of Babel voice approach, I realized that whispering is yet another variation on voice. So I made two recordings of Spiders (both now up at the Storehouse, with the two other readings already up there for this piece), one regular and one whispered.

Initially I thought I might somehow blend all four readings, but it became quickly apparent that differences in pacing and recording quality between the audio versions would make that too complicated. Then I thought I would try and blend my regular voice and the whispered version, but decided to leave actual blending until I had an idea of what images I would use. So I went flipping through my crazily random clips collection, with the sound and thought of the poem in my mind as I did so. After a while, two came together – this clip of wildflowers at sunset from OrangeHD and this eye clip from xStockVideo. As I’ve said before, I tend to recycle clips and sounds that stay with me, and that eye clip is definitely one of them. (Used twice before – for a Randy Adams poem and for a Cesare Pavese poem.)

Once I’d got the wildflowers piece in place with the eye fading in and out behind it, it all looked surreptitious and sightly sinister, that set the stage perfectly for the whispered version on its own.. and there we were.

Thanks to Kristine for contributing her work to The Poetry Storehouse. As always, we warmly encourage other remixers to visit the Storehouse and get creative with its contents.

Visit the Poetry Storehouse Vimeo page to see all Storehouse-based video and still image remixes.

Published by

Nic Sebastian

Nic is the author of Forever Will End On Thursday and Dark And Like A Web. She founded the now-archived Whale Sound site and is co-founder of The Poetry Storehouse. Nic blogs at Very Like A Whale and Voice Alpha.

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