Elephant’s Footprint create superb Poetry Films. See the previous post for the Interview with Helen Dewbery & Chaucer Cameron.
https://elephantsfootprint.com/film-poems/links/ Clean Lines
You can enjoy more Poetry Films on their website here.
Elephant’s Footprint create superb Poetry Films. See the previous post for the Interview with Helen Dewbery & Chaucer Cameron.
https://elephantsfootprint.com/film-poems/links/ Clean Lines
You can enjoy more Poetry Films on their website here.
Our final Guests for the day are Helen Dewbery and Chaucer Cameron who are Elephant’s Footprint. It is a pleasure to have them join us for INKSPILL 2018.
Here they join me for an Interview which includes EXCLUSIVE video work. Enjoy!
When Chaucer was writing a vision statement for Elephant’s Footprint, she came across an article by visual artist Mary Russell and author Gerard Wozek. Chaucer was delighted to discover that we shared a fundamental belief that: visual and literary art carries spiritual, political, and sociological messages and that ‘visual poetry is a physical manifestation of ‘what it means to be a human being engaged in seeking community’. And, that the medium of film poetry is intrinsically alchemic—magic.
Chaucer’s Wild Whispers is an international film-poetry project that began with one poem and led to fourteen versions, in ten languages, and twelve film-poems. The poetry versions and film-poem adaptations were ‘whispered’ from one to another, across the world. It is a great demonstration of how film-poetry works and we consider it to be the perfect vehicle for exciting collaborations and for fostering strong, positive connections between countries and across the world.
Our poetry-film life began in New York on Brooklyn Bridge in 2009. We were both drawn to merging visual images and poetry after Helen took some holiday ‘snaps’ and Chaucer wrote a poem. The result was Arrival – we rarely show it, but here it is, for this weekend only!
https://vimeo.com/296626395 password: INKSPILL
It is the potential of film-poetry, to offer creative opportunities for exploring and communicating poetry in new ways, that’s exciting. For instance, last year Helen’s work was been shown at the LiKE festival in Slovakia, which focused on various forms of contemporary literature and more importantly was seen by wide audiences in Slovakia including, high schools, universities and other communities.
Similarly, Chaucer’s film-poem Pearls was screened in Kritya International Poetry Festival 2017.
Film poems, like any other poetry, it can be created almost instantly or can take many months to produce even years.
Film-poetry has an international community and network of festivals. We’ve shown film-poems in many of these and have visited two in Germany: Zebra in Münster and Weimar.
We also went to The International Video Poetry Festival 2016 held at the Free Self-Organised Theatre EMBROS in Athens. The festival creates an open public space for screening contemporary visual poetry and is part of the counter-culture activities of Void Network and + the Institute [for Experimental Arts]. The evening started at 9pm and ended at 3am with a continuous screening of visual poetry! It worked – the theatre was packed for the whole six hours!
Our first experience of showing our work was at Liberated Words Poetry Film Festival 2013, in Bristol – when we found out about it we couldn’t believe our luck that a festival of this sort was on our doorstep and we attended the whole festival.
In recent years we have preferred introducing our work at poetry events, rather than specifically poetry-film festivals.
We are both passionate about film-poetry and we are constantly looking for new channels to promote film poetry as a genre of poetry. We have produced two thirty-minute film-poetry collections, Nothing in the Garden and I Live my Life Through Windows, and have worked independently with poets on single poems but we wanted to reach more poets and work more collaboratively. However, we wanted to reach more poets and were coming to the end of our partnership with the poetry magazine The Interpreter’s House. Helen had just finished filming Angela France performing her collection The Hill and we had become more familiar with the work of other Nine Arches poets and had great admiration for the press. Helen emailed the editor, Jane Commane and a partnership was formed.
We’re still finding our feet with this work as the film-poems are a hybrid form,
a cross between promotional videos and film poems. We are still trying new ideas and testing the balance between the two distinct genres, but the result is exciting. People new to poetry engage more easily with visual and auditory content, making film-poems an ideal medium. The film-poems are not only viewed by Nine Arches existing readers and online audiences, but are a tool for their poets to engage more easily with their existing and new audiences.
This year we trained ten poets (only one had any prior experience) over a six-month period, meeting monthly. The group worked together as a collective whereby each person was responsible for creating at least one film-poem,
but they also worked together using the skills of the rest of the group. This resulted in a final show of sixteen film poems to an audience of fifty people. It was very well received and the whole collective film-poems are going to be screened in Athens in November. We are hoping that we can repeat this model of training in Worcester next year or any location convenient to a core group of people.
We are also available for one-to-one training and mentoring if anyone has a particular project they want to work on. We can also provide drop in sessions that were well received at saboteur’s awards.
Find your own starting place. We started with Arrival. The video poet Lucia Sellars said recently on Facebook: “My experience with video-poetry, started with my fondness of music and certain landscape circumstances that struck me deeply in my daily routine at the time. ….. the first few videos I made where an investigation about blending only sound and image.”
If you already have some technical skills there are many apps you can download on your phone to make simple films. You don’t need expensive equipment, and there are online resources of images, film and sound.
Find someone with the skills that you don’t have and ask for their help.
Think about collaborating with a filmmaker – but keep fully involved in the process.
Join our next collective!
What’s in the name? – Attempts to define film poetry or to even agree on what terminology to use, is a developing field. We use the term film poetry as a generic term to encompass any other term that might be used. It seems to fit in a poetry context: surrealist poems, long poems, love poems, performance poems, page poems, film poems …
We are starting a new Film Poetry Competition which will be launched in January. We are planning a section for ‘first film poems’.
This year Kate Garrett embarked on a new project Bonnie’s Crew. Kate tells us more about this in our final interview.
Bonnie’s Crew was originally just going to be a little A6 print anthology, put together from work sent in by my friends in the poetry community, and sold via JustGiving to raise money for the Children’s Heart Surgery Fund. Leeds Congenital Hearts – which is funded by the CHSF – saved my daughter Bonnie’s life when she was born, but they did it without surgery (so far – she does have a condition that often requires surgery later in life). Other babies, children, teens, and adults need the unit’s help in much more complex ways. Our time on Ward L51 opened my eyes to congenital heart disease and made me want to do something to help.
Almost immediately – it’s where my own heart lies (aside from my family unit of course, but even then my husband and closest friends are poets too!), and poetry is where my people are, where the community is for me.
The Bonnie’s Crew anthology is fiftyish pages of poems, mostly by poets in the UK, printed in A6 size with beautiful original cover art by Marija Smits. The poems range from those written just for Bonnie to suitable reprints, and everything in between.
The webzine has become far wider-reaching – poets from all over the world submit to Bonnie’s Crew! For both mediums, I wanted poems touching on hearts and hope, above all else, but also hospital experiences, grief, loss, love (romantic or otherwise) – as these are all very universal things, we all have a body, we all have emotions, and when we experience health issues, or loss, or family problems, or anything that moves us deeply, it’s good to have a place to express those things and find solace in other stories.
Sometimes our poems are inspired by news articles that aren’t even about human beings, but are relevant to our moral dilemmas (I’m thinking of Jude Cowan Montague’s brilliant ‘the sadness of the experiment’ https://bonnieandcrew.wordpress.com/2018/04/21/poem-the-sadness-of-the-experiment-by-jude-cowan-montague), and sometimes the poets themselves have been in hospital for heart conditions. It varies, but the writing is always beautiful.
We currently publish two poets a week, on Wednesdays and Saturdays, but from February 2019 we will be publishing in a web journal format every other month. BC #1 will be released on 9th February – and there’s still space for more work. To read what we’ve published so far, and to submit your own work, visit http://bonnieandcrew.wordpress.com
I’m not exactly sure! Over 150, or around that… at the time of answering these questions there have been 105 posts published or scheduled, and quite a few of those include multiple poems. We’ve been publishing since the first week of February 2018.
Amazing, unbelievable. And I was so moved by the fact that through poetry we were able to raise over £1,000 in 6 months. We’re still going, and still have anthologies left to send out, so if people are interested, our JustGiving page is https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/bonnieandcrew and if people would like an anthology after donating (£5 minimum for a book, but even a £1 donation helps!), please email me at email@example.com. I’d love to raise £2,000 by the time Bonnie turns one in January, or at least by the time the print anthology turns one in May.
When I decided to change to a bi-monthly web journal format. Our webzine has been characterised by me pairing public domain images with the poems we publish, and people always remark on the lovely combinations. I’d like to carry on the visual aspect when we change to releasing work in issues, but I wanted the art to come from submissions instead of public domain resources.
What haven’t I enjoyed! It’s honestly the most rewarding bit of editing and publishing I’ve ever done. If I had to stop editing/publishing everything else tomorrow, I would not be able to put Bonnie’s Crew down. It’s made such a difference to people, not just the heart unit, but regular people who come across the poems and feel soothed by reading them.
Well, as I say, I’d love to raise more money (which means selling the remaining anthologies), hold an event in Leeds with readings, and see where the new web journal format takes us. I’m accepting creative nonfiction articles and essays now as well, alongside the poetry and visual art. Bonnie’s Crew’s tagline has always been ‘poems helping hearts of all sizes’ and it’s grown to helping hearts in both literal and figurative ways. It would be lovely to keep that momentum going and reach even more people.
Guest Writer Heather Wastie on Editing a Poem.
Our Guest Writer interview with this year’s Featured Writer – Alison May. Find out about her latest novel tomorrow.
Our Guest Writer Workshop with Roy McFarlane – Writing their presence
This Poem of the Week from The Guardian was published in May 2018. Click the read to read ‘The Straight and Narrow’ by Simon Armitage, the Poem of the Week includes an analysis.
Kate Garrett is a poet and an editor. In this interview we will discover more about her editorial work.
I don’t know, I didn’t set them up to really be anything in relation to other publications, they are just what I wanted them to be – Picaroon is for “rogue” poems, work that might be too odd or outspoken for other markets. Three Drops from a Cauldron is for folkore/myth poems but for everyone regardless of geography/nationality, age, race, sexuality, gender identity, disability, etc – I love myth and lore from all perspectives. Bonnie’s Crew was originally set up to raise money and awareness for a heart charity, but it’s now a place people come to read gentler poems about being human, or poems that will give them a moment of calm.
Actually, apart from indulging my own love of reading work based in myths, lore, magic, superstition, legend, and son on – another side of our mission is to show that myth/folklore/fairy tale/legend-themed writing has more scope than people sometimes think. I’ve seen people say ‘folklore poems’ as if the very idea leaves a bad taste in their mouths, that ‘political’ poems are somehow superior… and while I appreciate a good political poem, and agree they are very important, I’ve published poems that are both of those things – mythical and political. In addition to this, many of our poems are personal to the author, the stories have a lot more to say than just ‘here is some magic happening’ or a direct retelling of an old tale. These things – myth, folklore, legend – are ingrained in all of us and fanciful stories are not always told just for the sake of it. There is often more under the surface.
Well, it’s definitely made the seasonal specials a lot more interesting and fun! I took on our readers and editorial staff for seasonal specials (Samhain, Midwinter, Beltane) specifically, and to help out with our early themed print anthologies. While I try to keep a wide range of readers in mind when selecting work, it’s definitely easier to do that with seven other people going over the submissions. Sadly, we won’t be doing any more themed print anthologies, and our seasonal specials will be ending with Midwinter 2018 (submissions open 1 November, and it will be published in December), but the team have said they will still be around if I need them. They’ve also expanded our audience by sharing Three Drops with quite different groups of people – their own social media friends and followers – which is wonderful.
No, for the regular web journal issues, there is no set theme. Themes might arise in each issue of my three web journals – Three Drops from a Cauldron, Picaroon Poetry, Bonnie’s Crew – but it’s not intentional.
By email please. Three Drops: firstname.lastname@example.org
Picaroon Poetry: email@example.com
Bonnie’s Crew: firstname.lastname@example.org
It varies wildly – because I have five kids, currently four journals (as well as people’s pamphlets in print) to publish, and health issues. One day I might not do any editing at all – I might do some writing instead, I might have to have a full housework day, or a day resting, or there might be appointments for the kids. On the days I do edit, the weekday mornings always start with coffee, then giving Saoirse and Bonnie breakfast after the husband and three teenage sons have left the house, exciting mumsy things like that… After the girls have settled, if it’s a Saturday/Sunday/Monday I am probably responding to submissions. If it’s any other day I might be formatting a book or a journal issue, designing a cover, scheduling posts on the webzine format mags, proofreading. It’s organised chaos.
Most of all, I’m looking for work that moves me. I’m not concerned with how much the writer has been published, what degrees they have, what competitions they’ve won – I don’t even read bios until I’ve read the submission itself. A writer with no publication credits could send a poem or flash fiction or creative nonfiction that blows my mind, and maybe a writer who has won every possible contest and has a PhD could send their least impressive work – I will accept the pieces that make me feel something regardless of who wrote them.
Probably the same advice most people give – keep writing, keep READING (I cannot stress how important it is to read if you’re a writer; apart from improving your craft, I don’t understand why anyone would want to be published if they don’t like books…), and don’t take rejection too hard. Rejections seem to upset people more than anything, it seems, and honestly they are just part of the whole writing game. Everyone gets them. Being a bit of a melancholy person, I actually expect them! Take a step back, look for any positives you can take from it (I always look at my work again, and sometimes – though not always – in the harsh glare of a rejection things appear that might need more work), know that selections for journals, anthologies, and pamphlets/collections/novels/everything else are made based on a number of factors, and try again.
Check in later to find out more about Bonnie’s Crew when we chat to Kate this evening.
The INKSPILL Book Shop posts provides you with access to this year’s Guest Writers books and other books featured over the weekend.
Our Guest Writers give their time for free and the whole weekend is free for you to access… so if you are in the market for a book, you have come to the right place.
These are poems of journeying, transformation, and growth, woven through with fairytale and myth, forest, sky and sea; they are elaborations of the dark times that make us look for light. This book is a place where love is never the same feeling twice, and neither is revenge.
These are poems about surviving doomsdays. People use the word doomsday to describe the apocalypse, and apocalypse simply means ‘an uncovering of knowledge’. Every life has its share of apocalyptic moments—not only great catastrophes, but also small secret revelations, and surprise twists of good fortune as well. They leave you with lessons learned, and stories to tell.
Here are fourteen poems circumnavigating the world of historical piracy, presented at a slant where the men are dangerous and the women are lethal. The violence and the sweetness, the freedom and the acceptance of death are all given equal footing. Never straying from the brutality of a lawless life on the seas, Deadly, Delicate welcomes you to the depths…
Three Drops Press and Picaroon Titles can be found here – 4 pages of books.
The Bonnie’s Crew poetry anthology is here! Our tiny A6 paperback contains 41 poets and 52 pages of poetry. It’s a limited first print run of 200, and they’ve been flying out my front door – but we do still have plenty available.
This year’s articles during INKSPILL are based on Poetry. The first article we would like to share was published in August 2018.
The Fat Sonnets (Argos Books)—Samantha Zighelboim’s debut poetry collection.
The poet on confronting societal limitations about the body, navigating the language of fatness, and celebrating friendships that embrace the joy of food.
Samantha Zighelboim’s debut collection conducts a radical re-examination of what we mean by body. In these poems, body is noun, verb and adverb; body is dearly beloved and fiercely rejected; it is by turns a singularly beautiful process and a frightening object. Zighelboim takes the sonnet form as a loose premise, a la Bernadette Mayer, but then explodes, expands, defies and otherwise grows out of supposed formal limits, making language into a living embodiment of the refusal of (institutional, patriarchal, cultural) control.
The Fat Sonnets are greathearted, wickedly brilliant, and wise. Samantha Zighelboim writes with rare passion and exactitude: she can cure, or kill what ails you, and yet she sings from the soul, which is beyond diagnosis, at once perfect; eternal and savagely hungry since whenever eternity began. Hilarious and cruel, every page swells with compassion. I love this book. It is deeply nutritious. It will feed you.
BIO: Samantha Zighelboim is a 2017 NYFA/NYSCA Fellow in Poetry, a recipient of a Face Out grant from CLMP, and the co-recipient of the 2016 John Frederick Nims Memorial Prize in Translation from The Poetry Foundation. Her poems and translations have appeared in POETRY, Boston Review, The Guardian (as part of Asymptote’s ‘Translation Tuesday’ series), PEN Poetry Series, Stonecutter, Fanzine, Public Pool, Sixth Finch, Bone Bouquet and Springhouse, among others. She lives in New York City, and teaches creative writing and literature at Rutgers University and The New School.
What scares you?
The other day my husband remarked that horror films and books, as clever and dark as they are, usually don’t write about the mundane things that really scare and disgust people – aging, speaking in public, listening to people chew, answering telephones, bananas… all the seemingly normal things that get to us in our day to day lives.
So what I would love to see is this:
Kate Garrett talks to us about writing poetry, her influences, books and reading as well as the latest on her current projects.
I realised I was a writer somewhere around age three. I wanted to write my own books (I’d learned to read when I was two) – so my grandma would bind scraps of leftover wallpaper in cardboard, and I’d spend my days drawing Care Bears and My Little Pony fan fiction in them. I recall one of my Care Bears holding a knife, so I think my personal style was set long, long ago…
Poetry came several years later, with reading ‘The Highwayman’ by Alfred Noyes for the first time. It was historical fiction, it was a ghost story, it was full of emotion – it was everything I loved about prose fiction but in ballad form. It made me realise poetry was storytelling, too; it was when I learned ‘poetry’ was not just the amusing rhymes they taught us as small children. From there I moved on to the Beat Generation, then Sharon Olds, all in my teens, and became obsessed with writing it myself. I was 12 when ‘The Highwayman’ got that started. Strangely enough, it was through school that I came to love it – which is what quite a lot of people cite as a turn off.
Pen and paper first, words and ideas jotted down in stream of consciousness, scribbles, only I know what I am trying to say (and sometimes even I don’t know). Then I take it to the computer, start typing anything that sounded salvageable in my notes, and stronger images and phrasing will come to me as I work. While I write the proper first draft, I must discover something I didn’t know was there – something about a character I’m writing (because much of my poetry is historical fiction or horror or both), or about myself, or a situation/experience. If that doesn’t happen, if I don’t learn something while writing, the poem isn’t working.
Søren Kierkegaard and Albert Camus, because both of their books have helped with my emotional and mental wellbeing over the years… being comfortable with your own anxiety in an absurd world has a lot going for it, and without these guys and their own forms of existentialism, I don’t know if I’d have reached that point.
Everywhere books are sold! I mean that sounds like an exaggeration, but I buy books literally everywhere I go, as well as from the internet. Two of the books I’m currently reading were purchased from the gift shop at the top of the Great Orme in Llandudno…
It’s more what am I reading than who just now. I’m reading a lot of history books, especially witch and/or occult and/or religion related – nothing new there – and I’m reading Against Nature (À Rebours) by J.-K. Huysmans, because I just love Huysmans’ novels, they hypnotise me a bit. But I tend to have anywhere from 10-25 books on the go at once (not an exaggeration), depending on what I feel like picking up on any given day. I do go through phases of reading poetry book after poetry book, but right now I’m not in one of those – I imagine I’ll be in one again before the new year! The last handful of poetry books I read included Sheffield Almanac by Pete Green, Sunshine by Melissa Lee-Houghton, Killing the Piano by Joe Williams, Moon Milk by Rachel Bower, & by Amy Kinsman, and Somewhere Between Rose and Black by Claire Walker.
It’s called Land and Sea and Turning, and it’s a limited edition (only 100 copies will ever exist) chapbook published by CWP (Cringe-worthy Poets) Collective Press in Buffalo, NY, USA. It’s 22 poems about fate, and free will… and ok, also death. There are mythological, historical, and personal poems, and a few which are horror fiction. I don’t like to say which poems are which. I’m sure people can figure it out…
History, mythology, literature, astrology, and inevitably, life. There are poems about cannibalism in Jamestown during the winter of 1609-1610; medieval belief in revenants in the abandoned Yorkshire village of Wharram Percy; a crime/horror fiction poem narrated by a very superstitious understudy during a run of Macbeth; a poem about The Girl in Blue, a figure of Ohio folklore who really existed, but her identity was a mystery for 60 years. Some of it is based in my own experience, but I’m increasingly weary of focusing on myself. I like giving life to history. I want people to feel those who came before us as fully fleshed out humans, not just names and dates and ideas, because learning history by memorising dates misses the point. More than anything I want to unsettle people in unexpected ways, not just with stories of my childhood abuse and bad choices as a younger adult. And that’s kind of what happened in Land and Sea and Turning – though some of the poems are personal, the need to dig around in other darkness, the stuff outside of myself, that took over.
I’ve just finished a mini pamphlet of 12 poems called She looks just like you, which is currently under consideration at a press, and my fingers are firmly crossed. This one is very much based in my personal experience, but it’s through the lens of an elf or a changeling in the human world.
I also just finished my four-part poem ‘The fifth & final’ (to be released this winter as a Stickleback micro collection from Hedgehog Poetry Press), which is about magic, and how I blend my Christian and pagan beliefs, and sort of mythologising my youngest daughter Bonnie’s conception/gestation/birth. It’ll be part of my first full-length collection of poetry, The saint of milk and flames, which I’m halfway through writing. It’s full of faith and doubt, ideas about belonging and outsiders, and has a thread of fire running through it while being simultaneously soothing – hence the title, which is after Brigid, who is both Christian saint and pagan goddess.
Later we interview Kate Garrett in her role as Editor.