The 2020 Film and Video Poetry Symposium will take place in Los Angeles, California beginning on November 12th and concluding January 2, 2021. FVPS has programmed over 100 films from more than 20 countries, 80 of which will be presented in an outdoor cinema. Our platform has also curated 5 media installations that will be available to the public on an appointment only basis. Lastly, The Film and Video Poetry Society developed and will deploy a 24/7 online streaming network accessible on our website beginning November 12, 2020 and ending December 31, 2020. Through this live video feed viewers will experience a special selection of films programmed for an international online screening experience.
We have pledged to uphold the cinema experience while also making safety and public health our primary goal. There will be no public or walk up access to our events. Entrance to screenings must be confirmed by reservation only.
On Monday, September 28 from 7 to 9 PM EST, the renowned NYC Lower East Side literary gathering space KGB Bar will host my dear compatriot Paolo Javier and me in a two-person poetry reading and film screening. Of course, we both wish we were gathering together in the historic environment of the actual KGB Bar, but pandemic times as they are, this is not to happen. We accept the virtual world of Zoom, acknowledging the fact that in this particular cosmos, we can invite friends from around the country and world to join us. If you are in the midst of Yom Kippur that evening, please join us while you break your fast.
This will be my first poetry reading in pandemic times. I will be reading from my new (and first) collection Year by Year Poems (Tender Buttons Press) along with some recent writing fresh from our shared, daunting now. In addition to reading from my book, I will screen a couple of film-poem collaborations, including Starfish Aorta Colossus (made with Paolo Javier, 2015), Visit to Bernadette Mayer’s Childhood Home (2020), and Girl is Presence (made with poet Anne Lesley Selcer, 2020)
We are grateful to KGB poetry programmer Jason Schneiderman who invited us to do this reading more than eight months ago.
And here’s some info on who we are and our poems: Paolo Javier was born in the Philippines and grew up in Las Piñas, Metro Manila; Katonah, New York; Cairo, Egypt; and Vancouver, British Columbia. After working as a freelance journalist and running an experimental theater company in Canada, he returned to New York City, where he lives with his family. From 2010 to 2014, Javier was poet laureate of Queens, New York. His collections of poetry include: The Feeling Is Actual (2011); 60 lv bo(e)mbs (2005); the time at the end of this writing (2004), recipient of a Small Press Traffic Book of the Year Award; and, Court of the Dragon (2015), which Publisher’s Weekly called “a linguistic time machine.”
When Lynne Sachs turned fifty, she dedicated herself to writing a poem for every year of her life, so far. Each of the fifty poems investigates the relationship between a singular event in Sachs’ life and the swirl of events beyond her domestic universe. Published by Tender Buttons Press, Year by Year Poems juxtaposes Sachs’ finished poems, which move from her birth in 1961 to her half-century marker in 2011, with her original handwritten first drafts. Paolo Javier wrote the introduction, and artist Abby Goldstein did the design. On Sept. 28 at KGB, Lynne will read poems from her book as well as new texts written very recently.
“Lynne Sachs wrote one of 2019’s best books of poetry. The graceful, diaristic poems … successfully distill events and themes in the poet’s life and simultaneously, magically, reflect larger movements of history and culture. Intimate and imagistic, the poems unfold a series of miniature stories with sensuous rhythms, telling visual detail, and gentle humor. This beautifully designed book includes facsimiles of many of the poetry’s initial drafts, which subtly illumine this artist’s creative process.” – 2019 Staff Pick, San Francisco Public Library “These poems are innovative. They invite us in, encouraging us to play along. They give us a structure to enter into our own retrospective lives, our own distillations of time, our own superimpositions of the newsworthy world onto our most intimate moments.” – Sharon Harrigan, Cleaver: Philadelphia’s International Literary Magazine
The Current Thing started an effort to collect ideas, that were born in the first two months of self-quarantine. Not as a Gramscian response to the experience of radical repression through incarceration, but rather as the search for a line of thinking along which to move forward, while —as Sean Cubit puts it— “Covid reads us to death” (see his essay in this volume). Some of us are in the tragicomic and contradictory position where we live in bubbles while the world burns around us. At least for the current moment, for the current thing, it has an effect on our sensibility: how to engage with reflections on the state of the world born in absence and silence and endless maddening stillness. The conditions in which some of the following texts were written might be compared with other times and places: the self-imposed isolation of the fourth century hermit, St Anthony of Egypt, or, the predicament of the fictional Flaubert of Liz LeCompt’s play and Ken Kobland’s related film, “Flaubert dreams of travel but the illness of his mother prevents it”.
The living planet has brought us back to earth. Dreamlike travels were, nonetheless, recorded. Self-reflections, Weltschmerz, philosophemes, midlife-crisis-ridden disaster-monologues, poems, revolutionary manifestos and other “insights” transformed into writing, drawing, and even film. We asked a number of people we knew to share something about this experience and a group of 45 responded. Besides texts, drawings and collages this journal features also videos and sound files all produced during Covid. As the majority of the featured writers are filmmakers, film scholars or have an affinity with the moving image, not surprisingly, a good portion of the contributions come in the form of moving images.