Category Archives: synopsis

Figure and I

Figure & I (2021)
2 1/2 min, color, sound

Singer-songwriter Kristine Leschper wrote to me with a very intriguing proposition: create a short film in response to her song “Figure and I”. I knew that this deeply rhythmic two-minute song called for some kind of somatic imagery. I needed to move with my body and my camera as I was shooting it.  A few days later, I went to “The New Woman Behind the Camera” exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. In this show, I saw two photos by two women photographers from the 1920s whose work I had never seen before. These images guided me to a way of interpreting the physicality and the intimacy of Kristine’s song.  Soon afterward, I invited my friend Kim Wilberforce to be in my film and to interpret the song herself, through her vibrant wardrobe and her precise, ecstatic clapping gestures. 


Singer/songwriter Kristine Leschper led Mothers for eight years (their most recent LP was 2018’s Render Another Ugly Method), but she’s now retired the moniker and shared her first single under her own name, “Figure And I,” via ANTI-. “For the first time, I used my hands to clap out a rhythm that spoke to me,” she says. “I don’t have much experience with percussion, so I was thrilled by the ease and accessibility of using hands as an instrument. It’s such a long-standing and fundamental way of making sound in folk traditions around the world, and to use it makes me feel rooted in a deeper sense of time. As a poet, too, I hold an enthusiasm for the symbolism of hands, as a symbol of work, of community or offering, or holding and being held.”


Screenings: National Gallery of Art (Washington, DC), Camera Lucida (Ecuador).


Selected by Libertad Gills on Desist Film’s Best of 2021 List. Featured in Cineticle’s Best Music Videos of 2021 by Maxim Karpitky.


Lyrics
Figure and I 
it’s not always hard to find
time to be alive

Figure and I 
it’s not always hard to find
time to be alive

Figure and I
it’s not always hard to


Featuring Kim Wilberforce
Film by Lynne Sachs
Music by Kristine Leschper
Anti-Records
Editor – Rebecca Shapass
Production Assistance – Priyanka Das

Filmed in Brooklyn, New York
Copyright Lynne Sachs, Kristine Leschper 2021

E•pis•to•lar•y: Letter to Jean Vigo

Excerpt from E•pis•to•lar•y: Letter to Jean Vigo

“E•pis•to•lar•y: letter to Jean Vigo”
a film by Lynne Sachs
5 min. 2021

In a cinema letter to French director Jean Vigo, Lynne Sachs ponders the delicate resonances of his 1933 classic “Zero for Conduct” in which a group of school boys wages an anarchist rebellion against their authoritarian teachers. Thinking about the Jan. 6, 2021 assault on the United States Capitol by thousands of right-wing activists, Sachs wonders how innocent play or calculated protest can turn so quickly into chaos and violence.

Commissioned by the Punto de Vista International Documentary Film Festival of Navarre program “The letters that weren’t and also are”. Spain, 2021.

Original idea  Garbiñe Ortega with the collaboration of Matías Piñeiro


This film is currently only available with a password. Please write to info@lynnesachs.com to request access.


International Premiere:
Punto de Vista (Pamplona, Spain)

Screenings:
Punto de Vista International Documentary Film Festival 2021; Sheffield Doc/Fest 2021; Cinema Parallels (Focus on Lynne Sachs), Bosnia 2021, Cryptofiction, 2021; Mimesis Documentary Film Festival, 2021; New Holland Island International Debut Film Festival 2021, St. Petersburg, Russia; Festifreak: Festival Internacional de Cine Independiente de La Plata, Argentina 2021; Exground Film Fest Wiesbaden, Germany (American Focus Programme, invited guest) 2021; Bogoshorts, Bogata, Colombia; Festival International de Cine Contemporáno Camára Lucida; Festival This Human World, Vienna, Austria 2021; Porto/Post/Doc Festival, Cinefiesta Section, Porto, Spain 2021; Metrograph Theater, New York City 2021.

Criterion Channel streaming premiere with 7 other films, Oct. 2021.


Punto De Vista: Lynne Sachs on her participation in ‘The letters that were not also are’


This complete film is currently only available with a password. Please write to info@lynnesachs.com to request access.

Retrospective – “Lynne Sachs: Between Thought and Expression” curated by Edo Choi, Asst. Curator, Museum of the Moving Image

https://canyoncinema.com/2021/02/17/lynne-sachs-between-thought-and-expression-five-program-retrospective-now-available-for-rent/

“For more than thirty years, artist Lynne Sachs has constructed short, bold mid-length, and feature films incorporating elements of the essay film, collage, performance, and observational documentary. Her highly self-reflexive films have variously explored the relations between the body, camera, and the materiality of film itself; histories of personal, social, and political trauma; marginalized communities and their labor; and her own family life, slipping seamlessly between modes, from documentary essays to diaristic shorts.” (Edo Choi, Assistant Curator of Film, Museum of the Moving Image)

This five-part retrospective offers a career-ranging survey of Sachs’s work and includes new HD transfers of Still Life With Woman and Four Objects, Drawn and QuarteredThe House of Science: a museum of false facts, and Which Way Is East: Notebooks from Vietnam.

Note: The following programs can be rented individually or as a package. A new video interview and between Lynne Sachs and series curator Edo Choi is also available as part of the rental fee.

For rental and pricing information, please contact: info@canyoncinema.com

All films are directed by Lynne Sachs.
Program notes by Edo Choi.


Lynne Sachs in Conversation with Edo Choi, Assistant Curator at the Museum of the Moving Image

FULL TRANSCRIPT



Program 1: Early Dissections
In her first three films, Sachs performs an exuberant autopsy of the medium itself, reveling in the investigation of its formal possibilities and cultural implications: the disjunctive layering of visual and verbal phrases in Still Life with Woman and Four Objects; un-split regular 8mm film as a metaphorical body and site of intercourse in the optically printed Drawn and Quartered; the scopophilic and gendered intentions of the camera’s gaze in Following the Object to Its Logical Beginning. These experiments anticipate the range of the artist’s mature work, beginning with her first essayistic collage The House of Science: a museum of false facts. Itself an autopsy, this mid-length film exposes the anatomy of western rationalism as a framework for sexual subjugation via a finely stitched patchwork of sounds and images from artistic renderings to archival films, home movies to staged performances.

Still Life with Woman and Four Objects (1986, 4 mins.)  New HD transfer
Drawn and Quartered (1987, 4 mins.) – new HD transfer
Following the Object to Its Logical Beginning (1987, 9 mins.)
The House of Science: a museum of false facts (1991, 30 mins.) – new HD transfer



Program 2: Family Travels
One of Lynne Sachs’s most sheerly beautiful films, Which Way Is East is a simultaneously intoxicating and politically sobering diary of encounters with the sights, sounds, and people of Vietnam, as Sachs pays a visit to her sister Dana and the two set off north from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi. The film is paired here with a very different kind of family journey The Last Happy Day, recounting the life of Sachs’s distant cousin Sandor Lenard, a Jewish Hungarian doctor who survived the Second World War and was ultimately hired to reassemble the bones of dead American soldiers. Here Sachs journeys through time as opposed to space, as she assembles a typically colorful array of documentary and performative elements, including Sandor’s letters, a children’s performance, and highly abstracted war footage, to bring us closer to a man who bore witness to terrible things. This program also features The Last Happy Day’s brief predecessor, The Small Ones. Program running time: 73 mins.

Which Way Is East: Notebooks from Vietnam (1994, 33 mins.) – new HD transfer
The Small Ones (2007, 3 mins.)
The Last Happy Day (2009, 37 mins.)



Program 3: Time Passes
Twenty years unspool over nine short films: portraits of Lynne Sachs’s children; visits with her mother, brother, niece and nephew; a tribute to the city where she lives; and scenes of sociopolitical trauma and protest. Nearly all shot on super 8mm or 16mm, and often silent, each work is at once a preservation of a moment and a record of change, seamlessly weaving together the candid and the performed gesture, the public and the private memory, in a simultaneously objective and subjective posture toward the passing of time. Program running time: 51 mins.

Photograph of Wind (2001, 4 mins.)
Tornado (2002, 4 mins.)
Noa, Noa (2006, 8 mins.)
Georgic for a Forgotten Planet (2008, 11 mins.)
Same Stream Twice (2012, 4 mins.)
Viva and Felix Growing Up (2015, 10 mins.)
Day Residue (2016, 3 mins.)
And Then We Marched (2017, 3 mins.)
Maya at 24 (2021, 4 mins.)



Program 4: Your Day Is My Night
2013, 64 mins. “This bed doesn’t necessarily belong to any one person,” someone says early in Your Day Is My Night. It could be the metaphorical thesis of this film, perhaps Lynne Sachs’s most self-effacing and meditative work. A seamless blend of closely observed verité footage, interpretive performance, and confessional monologues and interviews, the film doesn’t document so much as create a space to accommodate the stories and experiences of seven Chinese immigrants from ages 58 to 78 who live together in a “shift-bed” apartment in Manhattan’s Chinatown. Sachs’s quilted sense of form achieves a new level of refinement and delicacy in collaboration with her cameraman Sean Hanley and her editor Amanda Katz, as she works with the participants to exhume a collective history of migration and struggle.




Program 5: Tip of My Tongue
2017, 80 mins. Sachs’s richly generative Tip of My Tongue finds the filmmaker responding to her 50th birthday by gathering twelve members of her generational cohort—friends and peers all born between 1958 and 1964, and originating as far as Cuba, Iran, and Australia—to participate in the creation of a choral work about the convergent and divergent effects history leaves upon those who live it. From the Kennedy assassination to Occupy Wall Street, the participants reveal their memories of, and reflections upon, the transformative experiences of their lives. Set to an ecstatic, pulsing score by Stephen Vitiello, the film interweaves these personal confessions with impressionistic images of contemporary New York, obscured glimpses of archival footage, and graphically rendered fragments of text to create a radiant prism of collective memory. Preceded by Sachs’s frantic record of accumulated daily to-do lists, A Year in Notes and Numbers (2018, 4 mins.).


Thanks to:

Maya at 24 (2021)

Maya at 24
4 min., 16mm, b&w, sound 2021
a film by Lynne Sachs
with editing and animation by Rebecca Shapass
music by Kevin T. Allen

Lynne Sachs films her daughter Maya in 16mm black and white film, at ages 6, 16 and 24. At each iteration, Maya runs around her mother, in a circle – clockwise – as if propelling herself in the same direction as time, forward. Conscious of the strange simultaneous temporal landscape that only film can convey, we watch Maya in motion at each distinct age.

“My daughter’s name is Maya. I’ve been told that the word maya means illusion in Hindu philosophy. In 2001, I photographed her at six years old, spinning like a top around me. Even then, I realized that her childhood was not something I could grasp but rather – like the wind – something I could feel tenderly brushing across my cheek.  Eleven years later, I pulled out my 16mm Bolex camera, as she allowed me to film her – different but somehow the same.  Recently, at age 24, Maya took another spin — we look at one another, moving, filling space, aware.  Completed during the 2020 pandemic, the film includes the intimate yet awkward rhythms of our two voices while living together during quarantine.” – Lynne Sachs


Screenings: Museum of the Moving Image (Queens, NY), Indie Memphis Film Festival (Tennessee), Best Departures Short, 2022; Onion City Experimental Film + Video Festival (Chicago); Black Maria Film Festival (New Jersey), Jury Citation Award, 2021; Northwest Film Forum (Seattle), 2021; Mill Valley Film Festival (California), 2021.


Featured on Beyond Chron’s Best of 2021 List by Peter Wong:
Maya at 24 – Lynne Sachs’ short uses the simple image of her daughter Maya running in front of the camera to offer kinetic snapshots of how our children change physically and emotionally over the years.


Criterion Channel streaming premiere with 7 other films, Oct. 2021.

For inquiries about rentals or purchases please contact Canyon Cinema or the Film-makers’ Cooperative. And for international bookings, please contact Kino Rebelde.


This film is currently only available with a password. Please write to info@lynnesachs.com to request access.

Orange Glow

Orange Glow
A film by Lynne Sachs (text) and Laura Harrison (image)
1 min. 30 sec., 2020

Description
In September 2020, Lynne Sachs was disturbed by the television images of San Francisco enveloped in wildfire smoke. When she looked at artist Laura Harrison’s gestural painting, she felt as if she was watching the eerie skies of California unfurl on the canvas. Together, Sachs’ words and Harrison’s images respond in horror to the devastating ecological disasters. 


Text
A face crumbling blueness fragment building crag in fuchsia light is not space but a stroke a swim a brush indivisible from the eye that carves sight some light is bulb and some is sun inside the gem each stroke so different a face in a frame becomes a wistful and also a box triangle home.

Enter fire. Enter smoke from the West caught in the air quality index of a dark 2 PM now hermetic hospitality dust in your lungs smoke in your ears.

Yes, I can hear the ringing in your ears rubbed by this image you made, not really San Francisco now but is for me, becomes that place.  Sends me there. Feel the heat. Nothing comes through the fog but the heat, the crackling of the burning brush underfoot, the heat, the worry, and through it all a line drawing itself spitting in motion in liquid.


Laura Harrison: “I wrote a text that became the painting for Orange Glow. Though the poem was supposed to be about air b and bs as escape hatches for covid ravaged California, the poem also suggested fires. The poem describes falling down red carpeted steps for the Oscars into hell. I painted the painting listening to my own poem over and over. My strokes were informed by it and out came a scabrous looking face.


Bios
Laura Harrison lives and works in Chicago. Her animations focus on marginalized, social outcasts with their own sub cultures. These fringe characters provide a focal point for her concerns with diaspora, trans humanism, gender and the loss of touch in an overwhelmingly visual world. Her films have shown at various festivals internationally including The New York Film Festival, Ottowa International Animation Festival, Japan Media Arts Festival, Boston International Film Festival, Florida Film Festival,  GLAS, Animafest Zagreb, VOID and Melbourne International Animation Festival. Her work has garnered many prizes, most recently a Guggenheim and Best Animation at Mammoth Lakes Film Festival.

Lynne Sachs is a filmmaker and poet living in Brooklyn, New York. Her moving image work ranges from experimental shorts to essay films to hybrid live performances. She has made 37 films included in retrospectives at Buenos Aires International Festival of Cinema, Havana Film Festival, China Women’s Film Festival and Sheffield Doc/ Fest. Lynne received a 2014 Guggenheim Fellowship in the Creative Arts. Tender Buttons Press recently published Lynne’s book Year by Year Poems.

For inquiries about rentals or purchases please contact Canyon Cinema or the Film-makers’ Cooperative. And for international bookings, please contact Kino Rebelde.

Three Poems by Lynne Sachs published in A Portuguese-English Review of Contemporary Literature

SACCADES – A Portuguese-English Review of Contemporary Literature
http://www.saccadesreview.org/lynne-sachs/

VISIT TO BERNADETTE MAYER’S CHILDHOOD HOME / VISITA À CASA DA INFÂNCIA DE BERNADETTE MAYER

30 DE JULHO DE 1971 (por bernadette mayer)

30 de Julho Quando você é mulher, você faz um ótimo disco e uma filha, cuja filha, as portas e a placa de armadura do busto de uma mulher e os cachos, morcegos negros, desastre iminente desgraça iminente interminável iminente uma reorganização do emprego das faculdades um pombo voa pela janela o assunto emoldura, veja, apenas, tanto, quem é você? como eu vim por você? Sou a raiva minha raiva é o sentido de perfurar você eu estou colocado dentro esta peça, este é um jogada, seu homenzinho boneco cai pequena mulher boneca se aproxima, fica ferida, você se levanta de novo um milagre, nós acasalamos, como dois relógios na mesma pulseira, à prova d’água espero. Coloque-os. Acerte-os algumas horas antes do meio-dia. Algumas horas antes do meio-dia. Com tinta, sua jogada, em um certo número de horas movem-se horas. Como você mencionou antes como uma reorganização daquele que foi mencionado antes, para aquele com quem minha presença fala, eu atiro nos homens lunares de uma vez e então tenho todo esse tempo sobrando para chupar o dedo. Eu preciso arrumar um relógio e começar a precisar dele. Não há duas maneiras de fazer isso é como mijar na versão mais analítica de todas as estrelas, é como respirar, respirar a fumaça da sua própria porra de marca. Então eu fumo o seu. Seu renegado, por que não admitir e me libertar. Eu odeio as peças de xadrez. Odeio todas as correções de poder exceto o poder que tenho para te mostrar algo.

JULY 30, 1971 (by bernadette mayer)

July 30 When you are a woman you make a great record & a daughter, whose daughter, the doors & the bust armor plate of a woman and curls, black bats, impending disaster impending doom unending impending a reorganization of the employment of faculties a pigeon flies by the window the subject frames, see, just, so, much who are you? how did I come by you? I’m anger my anger is sense drills into you I am set in this piece this is a move you little man doll fall down little woman doll moves closer, is wounded, you get up again a miracle, we mate, like two watch faces on the same wrist band, waterproof i hope. Set them. Set them back a few hours to noon. Back a few hours to noon. Inked, your move, in a certain number of hours moves hours. Like you mentioned before as a reorganization of the one who was mentioned before, to the one my presence here speaks to, I shoot the moon men all at once & then I’ve got all this time left to twiddle my thumbs. I’ve got to get a watch face & start needing it. There’s no two ways about it it’s like pissing on the most analytical version of all the stars, it’s like breathing, breathe the smoke of your own fucking brand. So I smoke yours. You renegade, why not admit it & set me free. I hate chess sets. I hate all power fixes except the power I have to show you something.

—translated by sean negus


LYNNE SACHS & PAOLO JAVIER

STARFISH AORTA COLOSSUS / COLOSSO DE AORTA ESTRELA DO MAR

10. (por paolo javier)

Não é mais hoje, mas eu admito ontem eu nunca pensei
Novamente lágrimas chamam à porta começam a cair na tábua dos vinte
Langor interno verde maravilha a emergência do poema
Vento estouro chegada é você
Apareça ante o espaço vazio
Nomeia Português a minha divindade praia vazia
Nessa praia vazia nos sentamos perto por nos aquecer
Viva krakooom praia vazia filhotes de foca brincam quando submerge o panda
Fundo do oecano lareira rodízio alienígena estrada horizonte largo
Ele vem chamando feito sinal de pá sobre a tundra iluminada
Eu sei ele talvez saiba movimentos de caneta intenção chicote sob aorta de estrela-do-mar
Furacão crescendo ou bagre cidade Português sublime
Nomeie Português a ressaca além qua divindade
Terror lamente volta pergunte por que o horizonte aorta colosso impede

10. (by paolo javier)

Today it is no longer cry but admit yesterday I never once thought it
Again tears call to the door begin to fall on the board of twenty
Green inside languor wonder emergency the poem
Wind sprint arrival are you
Appear before blank space
Name English mine divinity empty beach
On that empty beach we sit close to keep warm
Live krakooom empty beach seal pups play while panda submerge
Ocean bottom hearth buffet alien lane wide horizon
He comes calling like a shovel sign above sunlit tundra
I can will may know pen movement sling intention under starfish aorta
Hurricane crescendo or catfish city sublimate English
Name English tide return furtherance qua divinity
Terror lament volta inquire why horizon aorta colossus impeach

—translated by rodrigo bravo


LYNNE SACHS & LAURA HARRISON

ORANGE GLOW / BRILHO LARANJA

BRILHO LARANJA (por lynne sachs)

Um rosto desmoronando azulado fragmento edifício rochedo em luz fúcsia não é espaço, mas um traço um nado uma escova indivisível do olho que esculpe a visão alguma luz é lâmpada e alguma é sol dentro da gema, cada traço tão diferente um rosto em uma moldura se torna um melancólico e também uma casa de triângulo de caixa.

Entrar no fogo. Entre a fumaça do oeste capturada no índice de qualidade do ar de um escuro 2 PM. Agora a poeira da hospitalidade hermética em seus pulmões fumaça em seus ouvidos.

Sim, eu posso ouvir o zumbido em seus ouvidos esfregado por esta imagem que você fez, não realmente São Francisco agora, mas é para mim, torna-se aquele lugar. Me manda lá. Sinta o calor. Nada vem através do nevoeiro, mas o calor, a crepitação da mato queimando sob os pés, o calor, a preocupação, e através de tudo isso uma linha se desenha cuspindo em movimento no líquido.

ORANGE GLOW (by lynne sachs)

A face crumbling blueness fragment building crag in fuchsia light is not space but a stroke a swim a brush indivisible from the eye that carves sight some light is bulb and some is sun inside the gem each stroke so different a face in a frame becomes a wistful and also a box triangle home.

Enter fire. Enter smoke from the West caught in the air quality index of a dark 2 PM now hermetic hospitality dust in your lungs smoke in your ears.

Yes, I can hear the ringing in your ears rubbed by this image you made, not really San Francisco now but is for me, becomes that place. Sends me there. Feel the heat. Nothing comes through the fog but the heat, the crackling of the burning brush underfoot, the heat, the worry, and through it all a line drawing itself spitting in motion in liquid.

—translated by sean negus


Lynne Sachs is a filmmaker and poet who grew up in Memphis, Tennessee and is currently living in Brooklyn, New York. Her moving image work ranges from short experimental films, to essay films to hybrid live performances. Lynne discovered her love of filmmaking while living in San Francisco where she worked closely with artists Craig Baldwin, Bruce Conner, Ernie Gehr, Barbara Hammer, Gunvor Nelson, and Trinh T. Min-ha. Between 1994 and 2006, she produced five essay films that took her to Vietnam, Bosnia, Israel, Italy and Germany — sites affected by international war – where she looked at the space between a community’s collective memory and her own subjective perceptions. Looking at the world from a feminist lens, she expresses intimacy by the way she uses her camera. Objects, places, reflections, faces, hands, all come so close to us in her films. Strongly committed to a dialogue between cinematic theory and practice, she searches for a rigorous play between image and sound, pushing the visual and aural textures in her work with every new project. With the making of “Every Fold Matters” (2015), and “The Washing Society” (2018), Lynne expanded her practice to include live performance. As of 2020, Lynne has made 37 films. The Buenos Aires International Festival of Independent Cinema, Festival International Nuevo Cine in Havana, China Women’s Film Festival and Sheffield Doc/ Fest have all presented retrospectives of her work. Tender Buttons Press published Lynne’s first book Year by Year Poems in 2019.

Bernadette Mayer is an avant-garde writer associated with the New York School of poets. The author of over 27 collections, including most recently Works and Days (2016), Eating The Colors Of A Lineup Of Words: The Early Books of Bernadette Mayer (2015) and The Helens of Troy (2013), she has received grants from The Guggenheim Foundation, Creative Capital, National Endowment for the Arts and the Foundation for Contemporary Arts. From 1980-1984, she served as the director of the St. Mark’s Poetry Project, and has also edited and founded 0 to 9 journal and United Artists books and magazines. She has taught at the New School for Social Research, Naropa University, Long Island University, the College of Saint Rose, Miami University and at University of Pennsylvania as a Kelly Writers House Fellow.

Paolo Javier was born in the Philippines and grew up in Las Piñas, Metro Manila; Katonah, Westchester; al-Ma‛adi , Cairo; and Surrey, Greater Vancouver. A featured artist in Queens International 18, he is the author/co-performer of the 2019 chapbook/cassette EP Maybe the Sweet Honey Pours (Nion Editions/Temporary Tapes), and O.B.B., a long comics poem forthcoming from Nightboat Books. Publisher’s Weekly calls his previous book, Court of the Dragon, “a linguistic time machine,” and is the inspiration for Lynne Sachs’ film Starfish Aorta Colossus.

Laura Harrison lives and works in Chicago. Her animations focus on marginalized, social outcasts with their own sub cultures. These fringe characters provide a focal point for her concerns with diaspora, trans humanism, gender and the loss of touch in an overwhelmingly visual world. Her films have shown at various festivals internationally including The New York Film Festival, Ottowa International Animation Festival, Japan Media Arts Festival, Boston International Film Festival, Florida Film Festival, GLAS, Animafest Zagreb, VOID and Melbourne International Animation Festival. Her work has garnered many prizes, most recently a Guggenheim and Best Animation at Mammoth Lakes Film Festival.

maria isobel iorio

The Clapping

“The Clapping”
Image by Lynne Sachs
Text by Didi Goldenhar
2 min., 2020

“The Clapping” evokes the inside-out of our lives in May 2020, sheltering in place during Covid-19’s first wave. In solitude, we relish nature’s symphony – shimmering rain and splish-splash of thunderstorm – while longing for the hustle-bustle of performance and more populous times.


TEXT

remember

remember my black pleated skirt?

Friday, meet you at the corner

a quick slice before the theater –

Hamlet played by a woman

Gertrude’s very red dress

the crush at intermission

intermission

the crush

then such applause

such applause, the clapping

shouting even

how we rushed to catch the F train

laughing in the downpour with others

with others

Visit to Bernadette Mayer’s Childhood Home (2020)

“Visit to Bernadette Mayer’s Childhood Home” by Lynne Sachs
3 min. 16mm b&w, sound, 2020

In July 1971, avant-garde writer and language poet Bernadette Mayer produced Memory, a multimedia project in which she shot one roll of 35mm film each day and kept a daily journal. In honor of the project’s compilation and release as a book, Lynne Sachs embarks on a study of the memory and language of place. Journeying to Mayer’s childhood home in the Ridgewood neighborhood of Queens, Sachs pays homage to Mayer in a collage of architecture, light, and rhythm. 

Text from “Memory” by Bernadette Mayer published by Siglio Press, 2020 – used by permission in conjunction with Poet’s House celebration of book.

Filmed at Bernadette Mayer’s childhood home, Ridgewood, Queens, New York


“It reminds me of the Cornell film Centuries of June where he got the young Stan Brakhage to come out to Queens and film. It is totally flowing in the style of Bernadette — the watch faces, the people passing on the sidewalk, the man with the long hair and headband, the black chain, the doorknob …. the leaves.” – Lee Ann Brown, Editrix, Tender Buttons Press

For inquiries about rentals or purchases please contact Canyon Cinema or the Film-makers’ Cooperative. And for international bookings, please contact Kino Rebelde.

Frames & Stanzas: A Film and Poetry Workshop led by Lynne Sachs

Frames & Stanzas: a Film and Poetry Workshop
Beyond Baroque Literary/ Arts Center
Thursday Nov 12, 2020 – Friday, December 4, 2020

In this virtual workshop, Brooklyn filmmaker and poet, Lynne Sachs, will share insights and experiences to help bridge poetry with cinema. 

About this Event 
In this virtual workshop, Brooklyn filmmaker and poet, Lynne Sachs will share insights and experiences she has in bridging poetry with cinema. Participants will explore and expand the intersections between still/moving images and written/spoken words. Over the course of three Thursday evenings, participants will explore and expand the intersections between still/moving images and written/spoken words. Sachs has always been fascinated by the interplay between large-scale public events beyond our control and our subsequent, internal responses to those experiences. Her workshop will build itself around this public/private convergence. 

Lynne’s virtual workshop at Beyond Baroque will include the screening of some of her own recent short film poems, including Starfish Aorta Colossus (2015), A Month of Single Frames (2019), Visit to Bernadette Mayer’s Childhood Home (2020), and Girl is Presence (2020) as well as excerpts from her feature Tip of My Tongue (2017). 

On Wednesday, Dec. 3, before our final meeting on Thursday, Dec. 4th, Beyond Baroque will host a virtual, public poetry reading with Lynne, during which she will read from her new collection, Year by Year Poems (Tender Buttons Press, 2019). Everyone is invited!

So please join us in this 3-week multimedia investigation of the sounds, texts, media images, home-made movies, and sensory experiences that all come together in a film poem.

On Nov. 12, participants will gain insights into this process with examples of filmmakers and poets whose practices explore and encompass both images and texts. Discussion will include (but certainly not be limited to!): the activation of archival images, visualization of poetic texts, overlaying text on the moving image, live poetry and expanded cinema performance, traditional Japanese benshi performers who live-narrated silent films poetic approaches to observational documentary, the “cine-essay,” and more. Lynne will provide “prompts” for writing during the following week.

On Nov. 20, each participant will produce a short video piece (with your cell phone or a camera) that combines text written by another member of the workshop with footage of their current environment. Lynne will provide guidance and structure for making a short film poem over the course of the following two weeks.

On Dec. 3, our workshop will culminate with a live Zoom screening/performance of films produced in the workshop. Participants are encouraged to invite friends to the last hour of our workshop.

Lynne Sachs & Paolo Javier read poems on KGB Bar Zoom

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.


Introduction by Jason Schneiderman

So we’re a poetry series—we call ourselves Monday Night Poetry at KGB—and Lynne Sachs is a poet, so you’ll be hearing her poems—but inside of Lynne’s work is also a challenge to the boundaries that have been drawn around poetry, and if we think about poetry as something distinct from other genres (not from other media, but from other genres), that definition of poetry emerged in two significant moments for me. One is the early modern period (or the renaissance if you like) when the sonnet entered English, and words for spoken voice became poetry and words intended to be sung to a melody became song—“lyric” having a claim to both of these genres, hence our continued use of “song lyrics” and “lyric poetry.” And then second is Modernism, when during the roughly forty year period from 1890 to 1920, poetry, like some sort of giant octopus began to absorb everything written that wasn’t obviously something else, like a novel, or a cookbook, or a bomb making manual—even though it was Amiri Baraka’s poem on how to make bombs that got Dial-a-Poem shut down in the 1960s. Poetry’s genre boundaries have always struck me as useful, I like them very much, but I also see how they can constrict as well as instruct. And one of the trends I see in contemporary letters is a move away from genre specialization. Rachel Zucker on a podcast confirmed my memory that in the 00’s, it was not cool for a poet to do anything but poetry, but now poets are reaching out past our boundaries, with notable moments like Warsan Shire collaborating with Beyonce. So how lucky we are to have Lynne Sachs, who for decades has been working at the boundary between poetry and film, and who will be presenting her own work, which engages the questions of medium, genre, image, and text, giving us a powerful sense of what art may look like going forward.

Please welcome Lynne Sachs.


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.”

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Photo of Paolo with friend
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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

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In case you would like a book, you can find Year by Year Poems here:

Small Press Distribution: https://www.spdbooks.org/Products/9780927920209/year-by-year-poems.aspx
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Year-Poems-Lynne-Sachs/dp/0927920204