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MOVING POEMS MAGAZINE: NEWS AND VIEWS ON POETRY FILM, VIDEOPOETRY, AND RELATED GENRES

 

REELPOETRY 2019: REVIEW

APRIL 7, 2019PAM FALKENBERG  LEAVE A COMMENT

by Pam Falkenberg

REEL poetry/Houston TX 2019, Houston’s first international poetry film festival, produced by Public Poetry, was impressive in its  inaugural year, and already promises to be back next year, and then either annually or biannually after that. The three-day event included live poetry performances, a panel discussion, and a workshop, in addition to featuring more than fifty films, ranging from documentaries and poetry films to videos extending poetry in all directions, from calligraphy and graphic design to dance and art performances, wordless narratives, concrete poetry, and abstract animation. Rather than trying to distinguish poetry films (films of poems) from film poetry (whose lineage derives from early 20th century experimental film and the “pure cinema” of dadaists and surrealists, such as Man Ray), REELpoetry advocates a big-tent approach, preferring an expansive canon rather than a narrow one.

REELpoetry’s eclectic curatorial vision produced a diverse and lively program of 36 films, some of which have already been featured on Moving Poems, or in other poetry film festivals, but also others that highlight new voices and disparate inspirations. Most of the films are available on the web, so what follows is a compendium with links, so that you can watch them in one place. When a particular film is unavailable, a link to the filmmaker/poet’s website or social media is provided instead.

The festival itself commissioned one film, which opened the cinepoetry screenings: 7 Seas, by Kyra Clegg, based on excerpts from Emily Dickinson’s poems about bodies of water.

The festival also gave out two awards with cash prizes, the judges award, which went to The Opened Field (Helmie Stills, filmmaker; Don Bury, poet), and an audience choice award, which went to I Ate the Cosmos for Breakfast (Dan Sickles, filmmaker; Melissa Studdard, poet).

Houston is a diverse and eclectic city that is proud of its support for the arts, and both REELpoetry and Public Poetry benefit from that climate, enjoying strong community interest, institutional support, and grant funding. Media coverage for REELpoetry 2019 was impressive, including articles in the Houston ChronicleHouston Public Media, and Arts and Culture Texas. The festival also provided lodging for poets/filmmakers who attended the event, and the schedule included times and places for mingling and sharing ideas. The inaugural festival set a high bar, and promises even better next year.


A Trending Houston Headline

HOUSTON CHRONICLE

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT // MOVIES

Film and poetry merge at
REELpoetry festival

By Jef Rouner, Correspondent March 20, 2019

A work from Kyra Clegg in 'REELpoetry'

Photo: Kyra Clegg

You know poetry, right? It’s that thing that people in cultured clubs shout at you over a jazz saxophonist or read in classes where the books don’t have dragons on the front. You’re not wrong, but there is a lot more than that, something that the new REELpoetry festival is keen to highlight.

The format is cinepoetry, a film-centric expression of the medium invented by celebrated surrealist Man Ray in the 1920s. The term encompasses all the intersections of poetry and film, from biopics and concert films to more experimental expressions of poetry through a camera lens as Ray did.

REELpoetry is international in scope and Houston’s first poetry-film festival. It features artists from Austria, Australia, Canada, England, Finland, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Scotland, Taiwan and Ukraine as well homegrown poets eager to show off what the city can do.

The festival is under the umbrella of Public Poetry, which for more than seven years has been working diligently to expand the presence of verse in H-Town with monthly readings, workshops, open mics and even bringing U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Pinksy to town to establish a Favorite Poem Project.

“Film is a great way to be introduced to poetry because of the dimension it adds to it,” says Public Poetry director and REELpoetry executive director Fran Sanders. “It’s a great way to learn about a poet’s life’s work or the work of people who are long dead. That’s a very unique thing film can accomplish. For poets, it’s another way to think about their work, what it can do and how people can engage in it.

“Poetry as an art form is not well understood by the general public,” Sanders adds. “It’s funny to me that people will say, ‘I don’t like poetry’ based on one experience. They would never say that about music based on one song. I hope this will be another song for people.”

A collection of short films opens the festival Friday at Café Brasil and Saturday at University of Houston-Downtown, all under five minutes and many featuring collaborations among Houstonians of multiple disciplines. Margo Stutts Toombs, known for what she jokingly calls her “old lady raps,” teamed up with poet Louisa Smith and artist Cookie Wells for a piece called “Body Language.” Wells and Smith played off each other in mutual inspiration as Toombs filmed and a dancer performed interpretations of the work, including themes of water shot during rainstorms at Evelyn’s Park.

 

“When you’re creating something, it shows how people can make something greater than they do individually,” Toombs says.

The screenings will include live performances by some of the poets narrating the works. Others are more experimental, including a silent piece that uses images in metered cadence to express the poem. Think of it like speed dating for visual poetry.

“If you don’t like it, it will be gone in a minute or two,” Sanders jokes.

Other screenings are more traditional films, including Robert Frank’s “This Song for Jack,” celebrating the work of Jack Kerouac through readings, and the Beat-poetry short film “Pull My Daisy.”

The centerpiece, though, is “BadddDDD Sonia Sanchez,” a stirring biopic of the revolutionary poet who helped spearhead the Black Arts Movement. The movie is an exhilarating celebration of her life and words as she looks back on her long career. Plans to have Sanchez present at REELpoetry were unfortunately scuttled because of her health. Instead, the film will be accompanied with a talk by Houston poet Ayokunle Falomo.

Modest in scope, REELpoetry is nonetheless a powerful entry into the city’s ever-expanding arts scene. Poetry has long thrived in Houston, and the festival adds a dimension that allows audiences to appreciate the medium.

“It’s yet another indication for the very strong arts scenes we have in Houston,” REELpoetry public relations director Billie Duncan says. “It’s also wonderful because so much of it is collaborative. Filmmakers, artists, dancers … all coming together to make these startling pieces of art.”


HOUSTON PUBLIC MEDIA

ARTS & CULTURE

Houston Kicks Off Its First International Poetry Film Festival

A collaborative art form that is not often showcased by itself will now have its own festival in Houston.

CATHERINE LU | POSTED ON MARCH 21, 2019, 2:35 PM

Cinepoetry is a genre that blends poetry and film, with a myriad of approaches. It’s often a film that features a poem, as well as collaborations with musicians and artists — but it doesn’t have to.

“One of the cinepoems [in the festival] is actually silent. But you get to see the poetic expression, if you will. It has its own rhythm and meter even though it lacks words,” said Fran Sanders, founder and director of REELpoetry, a poetry film festival sponsored by her organization, Public Poetry.

The three-day event will screen about 40 cinepoems from over a dozen countries, plus documentaries and videos. The festival opens with a showcase of local poets, at times reading live on-stage, alongside videos of their past performances in a “4-D” experience.

Sanders said that, as a genre, cinepoetry is not usually shown by itself, but with Houston’s active poetry and film scene, she decided to focus on it and create the city’s first international festival of this kind.

“I think it will introduce a whole new audience to some really exciting poetry that’s going on at this time all over Houston, all over the country and all over the world,” she said.

The plan is to make REELpoetry an annual or biennial festival. “There is so much exciting material that’s out there, this is just the tip of the iceberg,” said Sanders.

Her inspiration for the festival came after watching BaddDDD Sonia Sanchez, a documentary about the award-winning poet, playwright, teacher and activist, who emerged from the Black Arts Movement.

“I thought, people need to see this. People need to know who she is and what she’s accomplished,” she said.

A screening of BaddDDD Sonia Sanchez will be the centerpiece of the festival. The film showcases Sanchez’s life, beliefs, vision and ground-breaking poetry. But it’s also Sanchez’s approach to social justice through her life and art that Sanders hopes audiences will take with them beyond the festival.

“Poetry is a really unique and valuable way of transforming the world. Poetry is enormously powerful, and this film about Sonia Sanchez gives you a sense of what the real power of poetry can be,” Sanders said.

The festival takes place March 22 – 24, at various venues.


Arts & Culture Magazine

SONIA SANCHEZ DOCUMENTARY HEADLINES REELPOETRY

  JOSEPH WOZNY

While not quite as ancient as all nine muses of the arts, the conversation between the arts of poetry and film goes back some time. REELpoetry, curated by Toni Holland, is Public Poetry’s first poetry film event, featuring documentaries, workshops, panels, poetry performances, and cinepoetry.

What is cinepoetry? Is it just films about poetry? Or with poems in them? Public Poetry director Fran Sanders says what differentiates cinepoetry is the fact that it takes the poet as departure. The poet is the beginning, explicitly or implicitly.

Culled from submissions from many different countries all over the world, the cinepoems that will screen include everything from silent films, narratives, the experimental, the not-so-experimental, and more. Conceptually, the cinepoem has roots all over. Connections can be drawn to many different points throughout art history: Stan Brackhage’s “silent poems,” Man Ray’s films, Mallarmé’s poetry, FLUXUS “intermedia,” and much more.

Like other modern genres, its genre is generally outlined by its commitment to being genre-less. Holland says, “What sets Reel Poetry/Houston TX apart from other concurrent filmic poetics is an abounding embrace of all literary and artistic practices, rather than an impulse to respond to one literary trajectory.” Holland will be teaching a Cinepoetry workshop on March 23, at 9:30 a.m. at UH-Downtown.

Saturday night features a screening of BaddDDD Sonia Sanchez, a documentary about poet, educator, dramatist, and activist Sonia Sanchez, known for being one of the leaders of the Black Arts Movement. Sanchez, who won the 2018 Wallace Stevens Award for poetry (among many other awards), describes herself as ““a woman with razor blades between my teeth.” Described by Maya Angelou, she is “a lion in literature’s forest.”

BaddDDD is a thorough portrait of Sanchez’s journey as a writer, legacy within the world of poetry, and impact as an activist. Surrounding its narrative core are readings and performances by Sanchez and others. Accompanied by jazz, her spoken-word performances illuminate the vigorous, dynamic power of her poetry and ability to take poetry far beyond the page. BaddDDD screens Saturday, March 23 at 7 p.m at UH-Downtown and Sunday, March 24 at 4:25 p.m. at MATCH.

REELpoetry will feature two short Robert Frank films centered around the Beats. Pull my Daisy (1959) is a rough, rambling adaptation of an act from an unfinished Jack Kerouac play. Kerouac improvises voice-over narration while Allen Ginsberg, Peter Orlovsky, Alice Neel, and others act out a sort of spontaneous “romp.” It is a celebration of the improvisational, sprawling Beat Generation ethos. Also showing is Frank’s rarer This Song for Jack (1983), featuring Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs, and John Clellon Holmes.

Both films will be introduced by Marian Luntz, curator of films at the MFAH, on March 24 at 1:20 p.m. at MATCH. After the films, REELpoetry will feature a Writers in the Schools (WITS) video, and a poetry performance featuring poet Stalina Villareal (HTX) and vocalist Ivette Roman (HTX). Outspoken Bean will premiere #midweekstanzas Season 3. Video screenings and performances at Brasil on Match 22 at 8:30 pm, and an after party at Rudyard’s on March 23 at 9 p.m complete the festival.

In addition to REELpoetry, Public Poetry has put on regular and special programming since 2011. Their Monthly Library Reading series combines all different types and levels of poets together for readings at libraries throughout Houston, everything from kids mentored by WITS to Pulitzer Prize nominees. Audience members are invited to read one of their favorite poems (their own, or by someone else) during “half-time.” The library reading series takes place at 2 p.m. the first Saturday of every month. They also  run an open mic, hosted by Outspoken Bean. Their PM Show is a collaborative effort between poets and musicians, each one featuring different performers. On April 13, they offer a “Poetry Ride,” which is a trip to and back from the Round Top Poetry Festival. The festival features readings, talks, dinner, and more.

-JOSEPH WOZNY


Lone Star Life

What is cinepoetry?
Houston’s first REELpoetry happens March 22-24

Sunday, March 17, 2019
Staff reports


REELpoetry, curated by Toni Holland, is Public Poetry’s first poetry film event, featuring documentaries, workshops, panels, poetry performances, and cinepoetry.

What is cinepoetry? Public Poetry director Fran Sanders says cinepoetry takes the poet as departure: The poet is the beginning. Chosen from submissions from all over the world, the cinepoems that will screen include everything from silent films, narratives, the experimental, the traditional, and more.

Holland told Arts & Culture Texas, “What sets Reel Poetry/Houston TX apart from other concurrent filmic poetics is an abounding embrace of all literary and artistic practices, rather than an impulse to respond to one literary trajectory.” Holland will be teaching a Cinepoetry workshop on March 23, at 9:30 a.m. at UH-Downtown.
Saturday night features a screening of BaddDDD Sonia Sanchez, a documentary about poet, educator, dramatist, and activist Sonia Sanchez, known for being one of the leaders of the Black Arts Movement.

BaddDDD is a thorough portrait of Sanchez’s journey as a writer, legacy within the world of poetry, and impact as an activist. Surrounding its narrative core are readings and performances by Sanchez and others, accompanied by jazz. BaddDDD screens Saturday, March 23 at 7 p.m. at UH-Downtown and Sunday, March 24 at 4:25 p.m. at MATCH.

REELpoetry will feature two short Robert Frank films centered around the Beats, Pull my Daisy (1959) and This Song for Jack (1983). After the films, REELpoetry will feature a Writers in the Schools (WITS) video, and a poetry performance featuring poet Stalina Villareal and vocalist Ivette Roman. Outspoken Bean will premiere #midweekstanzas Season 3.


CULTUREMAP

WEEKEND EVENT PLANNER
Here are the top 10 things to do in Houston this weekend
By Craig D. Lindsey


Mar 21, 2019, 6:00 am
Idina Menzel
Frozen star Idina Menzel will bring a cool performance to Houston. Photo by Natasha Desai
Space City fans, do you like Mars Rovers?

This Saturday, dozens of Houston-area elementary- and middle-school students will gather at the University of Houston Student Center South Houston Room to wrap up a six-week mission to build a model rover for a science mission on the surface of Mars. Their innovative creations, which are supposed to be made from $25 worth of common household items (toilet paper, aluminum foil, paper towels, etc.) will be displayed during the 2019 Mars Rover Celebration, starting at 9 am.

If you're not in a space-age kind of mood, here are some other things going on:


Thursday, March 21
Cocktails & Conversations at The Health Museum
It looks like The Health Museum is looking to get people into their operation — and getting them to know more about their bodies — by promising booze. The museum will host its first Cocktails & Conversations event during Free Family Thursday. Susan L. Perkins, curator of the traveling exhibition The Secret World Inside You; and Dr. Herbert L. DuPont, president and CEO of the Kelsey Research Foundation, will discuss micro biomes. 6-8 pm.

Atash Kadeh Temple Grand Opening/Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony
Have you ever heard of the 4,000-year-old Zoroastrian faith? It's a monotheistic faith with roots in the Persian Empire that operates on the ideals of “good thoughts, good words and good deeds” and “there is only one path – the path of truth.” Those who practice this religion around these parts will be happy to learn that the Atash Kadeh Temple -- the first of its kind in the U.S. — will be opening its doors this weekend. This gives them a sacred and quiet place for worship and meditation. 7:20 pm.

Friday, March 22
The Bunny Photo Experience at Katy Mills Mill
The Easter Bunny is coming to town, people. This is not a drill! Ol' bunny will be doing photo ops at Katy Mills Mall, starting this Friday and continuing through Saturday, April 20. Not only will kids have the chance to visit with the bunny and take home a treasured snapshot of the fun occasion, people with all spectrums of special needs can enjoy this holiday tradition through sensory-friendly, Caring Bunny events on Sunday, March 31 and Sunday, April 7. 11 am.

Five Funny French Films at MFAH
It's that time of year when the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston aims to bring in cinephile Francophiles with a quintet of tummy-tickling, French comedies screening this weekend. This year, the museum has four recently released films, featuring performances from such stars as Melanie Laurent, Miou-Miou, and Oscar winner Jean Dujardin. There will be also be a screening of the 1938 film The Baker's Wife (La femme du boulanger), which Orson Welles once called "a perfect movie." 7 pm and 9:15 pm (5 pm Sunday).

2019 REELpoetry
All weekend long, the international film and poetry event known as REELpoetry will feature documentaries, artist cinefilms and videos shown at multiple venues. International, national, regional, and local poets, as well as filmmakers and artists, will be in attendance. Things will kick off at Brasil with a Houston video screening, poetry performances, and a preview of the Sonia Sanchez documentary BaddDDD Sonia Sanchez, which will screen on Saturday and Sunday. 8:30 pm.


Saturday, March 23
Theatre Under The Stars 50th Anniversary Season Gala
Do you ever think Idina Menzel is fed up with the Adele Dazeem jokes by now? We're asking because Menzel will be the headlining performer at Theatre Under The Stars's 50th Anniversary Season Gala, and it just had us thinking about that strange time John Travolta introduced the Frozen star by that name at the Oscars. Anyway, this evening honoring TUTS’ past board chairs and presidents will also feature silent and live fundraising auctions. 6:30 pm.

Mark C. Austin's Birthday Charity Concert at Heights Theater
As the manager for such phenomenal, local bands as The Tontons, Mark C. Austin has made it his priority to make sure everybody knows Houston is bubbling with top-notch, musical talent. Those who would like to thank him for his efforts can attend his 42nd birthday party this weekend, which also doubles as charity concert, with all the proceeds benefitting Life Gift of Houston. Dumpstaphunk will serve as the headlining band, with DJ Sun working the turntables. 7-11 pm.

Da Camera presents Mark Guiliana
Mark Guiliana, one of the world's leading drummers and recipient of the Best Jazz Drummer title in 2017's Modern Drummer Readers Poll, is making his debut appearance in Houston on Saturday. He'll be performing with his newest project Space Heroes, featuring bassist Chris Morrissey and saxophonists Mike Lewis and Jason Rigby. According to Guiliana, "space" is referring to the space he and his crew will be exploring since there's not a guitarist or keyboardist in this quartet. 8 pm.

Sunday, March 24
Cigna Sunday Streets 2019 Spring Season
Cigna Sunday Streets starts up another season of giving people some outdoor fun around here. They'll be hitting Midtown and Alief in April and May, respectively, but, for this weekend, they're gonna take over The Heights. Part bike tour, part walking tour, this street shindig promotes outdoor activities and health with a friendly dose of community, as well as also offer an economic stimulus for the neighborhood. Noon.

KPFT Birthday Benefit Concert at the Heights Theater
Somehow, some way, KPFT, everybody's favorite, community-based radio station, has made it to its 49th birthday. And they're celebrating with a concert bash, featuring Ruthie Foster, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Rosie Flores, Charlie Faye & the Fayettes, and The Peterson Brothers. The crew from GenerAsian Radio will be laying down world beats to kick things off. Proceeds from ticket sales will help provide much-needed support for KPFT. 4-9 pm.


Some Other Mentions

https://www.evensi.us/reel-poetry-houston-meets-film-2604-dunlavy-st-tx-77006/296400341

https://www.evensi.us/reel-poetry-houston-meets-film-2604-dunlavy-st-tx-77006/296400341

https://www.axisweb.org/p/kyraclegg/event/7226-reelpoetry/

https://calendar.uhd.edu/event/reel_poetry_film_festival#.XKixP1VKjmE

http://www.houstonfilmcommission.com/news-and-events/texas-film-festivals/

https://www.texasbooklover.com/2019/03/monday-roundup-texas-literary-calendar_18.html

https://melissastuddard.com/appearances/

https://insta-stalker.com/tag/beatpoets/

https://www.pikbe.com/publicpoetry

https://flipboard.com/topic/poetry/film-and-poetry-merge-at-reelpoetry-festival/a-dV9YGEz5Sz2SYcHYUAo7lQ%3Aa%3A2858497449-1c2ff153d8/houstonchronicle.com