poemimage

Where text meets image. Where the visual intersects the literary.

Category: Video Poetry

When the ice melts all at once…

One operates in black & white (without chiaroscuro)

When the ice melts all at once…

One documents an operation of the psyche

When the ice melts all at once…

One experiences the falling apart gather speed

When the ice melts all at once…

One experiences psyche igniting catharsis

Documented previously HOW?

When the ice melts all at once…

Ice laughter shines like silver

delicately brutal

full as the moon

delivering a blanket of shadowy

chiaroscuro.

One believes they have documented catharsis when in fact catharsis is about to rear its head. Puzzling.
Exhibition late 2011
poetry video shown at exhibition

Detail from a painting completed a decade after this exhibition.

flightpath

flightpath is a cinematic video-poem featuring the art of Tehran artist Shirin Pilehvari in contrast with pristine, old-growth forest in Limehouse, Ontario. My function was writer (poet) & director. Please note full credits in the video and on my YouTube channel for a list of creative collaborators in visual art, music, poetry, narration, translation and editing.

Our core team included Eric Gerrard (camera) and Konrad Skreta (audio and video editing). We created seven video poems between 2009-2013.

In 2020 Konrad Skreta and I collaborated on a 32 minute video poem featuring his experimental animation of my digital collages (and poetry).

One Thing Leads to Another

When I created the ‘wordless poem’ Never More Together (120 linocut prints – The Porcupine’s Quill) in 2014 I sometimes needed to answer questions like, ‘How is this a poem?’

So I wrote the poem Meditations on a Wordless Poem. In earlier versions I related it to the silent process of carving in lino and creating non-linear poetry via images. I recall describing how I warmed lino under a hot lamp (during a heat wave!) so it would be easier to carve. In the poem found below I abandoned such descriptions, focusing more on the metaphysical. One thing leads to another.

In 2020 Konrad Skreta and I co-directed a 32:28 poetry/art (animation) video based on this poem. Because of Covid, and disruptions, or so I tell myself, I am just now getting around to submitting the video (titled Ode to a Wordless Poem) to festivals.

I watched it again today. Konrad embellished my poetry and images (text-art & visual poetry) by composing ever-shifting & evocative geometric and organic designs. & Within a landscape of psyche, perception and shadow the music too, as well as Konrad’s soundscape, is hypnotic. One thing leads to another.

Meditations on a Wordless Poem

The poem is an image & the image is a poem

Poem is an image passing through the body.

Image contains the rhythmic incantation of voice manipulating shapes

And visual balance –

Image passes into and through the body, embracing rhythmic incantations.

The alchemy of poetry transfigures a blank page into a sequence

Of comprehension –

A sequence of psychic incantation configures the blank page.

The process of transfiguring dross and creating gold

Is recorded two-dimensionally –

A sequence of shapes and visual balance enter your body as

Two-dimensional alchemy.

Symbols meet texture in a relationship spanning theory and time.

Theory and time, in place of words, pass through your body.

Epic poetry resembles line and movement

An ancient voice extends invisible realities into song

Songs of prehistory rush forward, intersecting with our surveillance state.

A visual poem is like a city

As the lights go off, a new sound emerges of all that has gone before

Missing words, animals, plants and civilizations are replaced

Epic poetry rushes forward containing new information.

Poetry, pulsing, aims within a sequence of images

Invisible line responds, summoning persona, questing,

Transmitting erotic signals

Light hollows any false reflection

New information transmits erotic signals

The lights in a city fade

Street by street.

As the image is read the pulse of the work transfigures

Surrealism speaks of fragrance and desire

Alchemy embodies fragrance

The alchemical poem juxtaposes human need and the impossible

Human desire interfaces with the surveillance state

The white of the page recorded two-dimensionally

The fragrance of light a dreaming of desire.

Subconscious language is dream entwining both image and word within

Phenomena as natural as the elements.

Original idea & mind entwine both image and dream

Negative space surrounds the image suggesting a missing fragment of verse.

Ecology and psyche blur in the composition of the wordless poem

Suggesting a missing fragment of verse.

The alchemical juxtaposes with the social.

Missing plants and animals pass through your body, a type of social architecture

A type of shorthand evolves, culturally recognized as poetry.

Stanzas and passages translate visually within atmospheres of memory.

Images float in a psychic space of precognition.

Pictograms evolve in the composition of the wordless poem, as ecology and psyche blur.

The fragrance of light is an image passing through your body &

Recognized culturally, in social architecture, as a poem.

Blink your eyes while you turn the page in torchlight & you realize

You are within early cinema.

Transfiguration

A poetry video from eight years ago I made with a professional camera operator and video/audio editor, location sound mixer, a drummer, public domain silent film (masters!) footage, Spanish & French translation, urban footage…  

How We Listened

after

Have you forgotten how we listened

spectral

to what was not being said.

colourful dream

The sun and the night both shining in Autumn.

sepia4

Shining upon what is concealed

after

& beneath the crossroads,

this is not d

a deeply buried wind

ruin 3

streaming through the empty house.

after

Dedicated to my (late) brother Larry, whose birthday is 2/22, who cried over his black fish floating belly up, who slipped climbing the crabapple tree & gashed his belly open with a nail. We passed through the cage of black & white TV broadcasting one Friday late into the night and throughout the weekend until a funeral on Monday.

sepia4

My video poem concerning this event: https://vimeo.com/11304739

colourful dreamspiral 2

I think I found the spiral Xray online a couple of years ago. Of course , neither am I claiming any copyright credit for the photographs of J.F.K.’s funeral. A detail from a still photo of a performer riding a horse in my video poem is also in the mix. I will take some credit for that.

spiral 2

November 22, 1963

I used excerpts from my mother’s journal(s) in some of the poetry. The Super 8 footage is from Kashmir & Europe in the 1960s courtesy T. Nanavati. I remember watching the family black and white television the night of the Kennedy assassination with my mother. The haunting never left me. The Beatles had not yet arrived. The war in Vietnam, ironically enough, was just about to kick in high gear. My father spent the weekend deer hunting. Years later, reading Robert Bly’s Iron John, this hit me like a sledgehammer. Although I view the event through a political prism I choose to deal with it in the context of mythic time.

tablet

Director: Steven McCabe
Director of Photography: Eric Gerard
Editor: Cliff Caines
Chanting: Sandra Phillips
Electronic/ambient music: DreamSTATE
Narration: Lynn Harrigan & Tanya Nanavati
Performers: Preethi Gopinath/Tanya Nanavati/Nicole Pillar/Paula Skimin
Poetry: Steven McCabe
Sound & online: Konrad Skręta

tablet

My Story Is Not My Own (a film poem concerning Nov. 22, 1963)

The same film with subtitles:

still with credit

In 2009 I created My Story Is Not My Own, a metaphysical & surreal film poem concerning the Kennedy assassination. My statement concerning this project is beneath the video on the YouTube page.

Transfiguration by Steven McCabe

A butterfly wing

Grazes your cheek

Travelling

Two thousand years

Per second.

My latest video poem (or film poem if you prefer). We originally filmed and recorded the drumming over two years ago for a different project which never saw the light of day. In the meantime I become interested in juxtaposing silent footage with live action. I realized we could use silent movie title cards for the poetry and not compete with the sound of drumming. The poem Transfiguration was originally published in my 1999 collection Radio Picasso (watershedBooks). My poetry videos can be found @ http://www.youtube.com/mccabesteven