It’s August again! I must say, I like Connotation Press’s tradition of a yearly retrospective. It gives me a chance to reflect on the past year, the artists I featured in The Third Form, and best of all, I get to re-live my conversations with them and the work they allowed me to share with you.
In September 2014, I wrote about Gaia Holmes and Matt Mullins. Yorkshire poet Gaia Holmes’s work has inspired several filmmakers (James Starkie, Jessica Symons, Rob Lycett, and Terry Wragg, among others). My chat with Gaia remains among one of my favorite conversations: her lilting Yorkshire accent made ordinary words sound poetic. Matt Mullins, whom I first met in 2013 at the Body Electric Poetry Film Festival in Colorado, shared three videos that he made using footage that video artist Swoon allowed him to use. Swoon (Marc Neys) is well-known to readers of my column; his enormous body of work is here.
In anticipation of the 7th Zebra Poetry Film Festival (and my second time attending), I selected twelve from the 6th festival for the October 2014 article. In addition, the Poetry Storehouse celebrated its first anniversary with a contest.
I wrote about the 7th Zebra Poetry Film Festival in my November column. Highlights included spending time with some of the talented and creative people in the video poetry field: Dave Bonta, Marc Neys (Swoon), Cheryl Gross, Nissmah Roshdy, and Thomas Zandegiacomo Del Bel. I was also very happy to be a Guest Artist, part of the video poetry project “12 Moons,” a 30-minute work including video from Swoon, with Nic Sebastian (voice) and Kathy McTavish (music). The films shown this year showed the ever-increasing awareness of poetry film as a distinct art form. This year’s festival included a focus on poetry films from Norway.
I started 2015 with a column featuring two relative newcomers to poetry film: Sina Seiler, a documentary filmmaker from Berlin, and Eduardo Yagüe, an actor and freelance film director from Spain. Both approach the art form from the perspective of a filmmaker, using poetry as text and plot.
In March, I spoke with Rachel Eliza Griffiths, a poet and photographer (she took the author photo of Nikky Finney for her National Book Award-winning collection of poems, Head Off & Split). Rachel Eliza was also a Connotation Press featured poet in 2010 . We discussed her written and visual work, her response in video poetry to the Eric Garner decision and Black Lives Matter, and POP (Poets on Poetry), a series of 100 poets reading and commenting on poetry.
I interviewed two artists whose work I’ve been interested in for some time. Jutta Pryor and Marie Craven, both from Australia, shared their philosophies about the role of the internet in spreading the word about video poetry, the nature of collaboration, and how poetry inspires them to create their dazzling films.
In July, I communicated with legendary video poetry pioneer Tom Konyves. Tom, a childhood survivor of the Hungarian Revolution, has experimented with many forms of written, spoken and visual art. A memorable quote from the article: “Text-image relationships are no different from male-female relationships. Sometimes they get along, sometimes they don’t.”
I am looking forward to another year of discovery. I hope you will explore this art form with me. As I wrote in last year’s retrospective, “Video poetry is a perfect example of the relationship between art and technology.”
Please send me your comments, suggestions, and of course, video poems: [email protected]