FP Idil

National Poetry Competition Filmpoems!

Felix Poetry Festival and Filmpoem cooked up a little poetry-film with National Poetry Competition and the Poetry Society – the first, second and third prize winners have all been given the Filmpoem treatment and can be seen here

Bernard and Cerinthe is a film by Alastair Cook for Linda France’s first placed poem in the National Poetry Competition 2013, commissioned by Filmpoem and Felix Poetry Festival in association with the Poetry Society.

From the National Poetry Competition judges: ‘This strange narrative of a man being seduced by a plant charmed the judges with its vivid imagery and linguistic wit. Its precisely honed couplets move from elegant description (‘the bruise of bracts, petals, purple // shrimps’) to a tragicomic climax, in which our hero finds himself ‘a buffoon in front of a saloon honey / high-kicking the can-can. Can’t-can’t’. Truly imaginative and richly musical, ‘Bernard and Cerinthe’ is as much a pleasure to read on the page as it is on the tongue, and as such was the unanimous choice of the judges for first place in this year’s National Poetry Competition.’ {Jane Yeh}

Idik Sukan tackled Paula Bohince’s incredible poem, Among Barmaids:

Among Barmaids is a film by Idil Sukan for Paula Bohince’s second placed poem in the National Poetry Competition 2013, commissioned by Filmpoem and Felix Poetry Festival in association with the Poetry Society.

From the National Poetry Competition judges: ‘There was a metal door that took both hands/ of a strong man to open’ – so begins this taut, impressive poem, going on to say that the barmaids did this daily, then ruled benignly the enclosed world ‘sealed in submarine darkness’ behind the door. With remarkable economy, the poem manages to construct an extremely detailed picture of the rituals of the bar-room, the lives of the barmaids – whose tattooed skin bears the history of ex-lovers and drugged-out children – and the lives of the drinkers ‘who wore their trade on their fingers – coal or dirt or grease’, and who played songs on the jukebox about cheating women. The voice of the poem speaks in the first person plural, like a Greek chorus. Perhaps this is what lends the poem its power – the directness of the choral tone, the precision of the detail, the staccato delivery. The choral voice delivers an incantation of great warmth in a cold place. This is brought home in the final image of the children brought to the bar by the men, when their wives needed peace, to be spun on a make-believe dance-floor by the ministering barmaids, trying to turn ‘despair into a party’. {Matthew Sweeney}

and Kate Sweeney delivers a sensual punch with Josephine Abbott’s third placed poem, Love on a Night Like This:

Love on a Night Like This is a film by Kate Sweeney for Josephine Abbott’s third placed poem in the National Poetry Competition 2013, commissioned by Filmpoem and Felix Poetry Festival in association with the Poetry Society.

From the National Poetry Competition judges: ‘This poem, built on motion, powerfully presents the balancing act of loving another human being. It depicts both the simplicity and enormity of that act, and our powerlessness in the face it, reduced as we are to “sea-birds in the teeth of a gale.” We loved the atmosphere and detail – that plastic pot skittering on a path, birds “made helpless as plastic bags”… This is a poem in which the personal and universal, the minute and the enormous, do more than co-exist: they are one and the same thing.’ {Julia Copus}

All three of these will premiere at Hidden Door Festival in Edinburgh on April 5th and be shown at the Filmpoem Festival in partnership with Felix Poetry Festival on June 14th in Antwerp, where they will be joined by the seven commended poems, made into filmpoems by an international troupe of filmmakers. Come see us!