Friday, January 9, 2009

Poetry from beyond the grave

Via the mental_floss blog:
"Have you ever wanted to see classic poems “read” by their long-dead authors via creepy computer animation? Well, now you can! On YouTube, poetryanimations has published a nearly 250-part series of poems that feature photos of their authors, modified so that they appear to be talking."
So who would you bring back from the dead for your very own online recitation? Anne Sexton? Check. Federico Garcia Lorca? Check. Sylvia Plath? Checkeroo: the video of her reading "Daddy" is nightmare inducing.

And who is it with his hand on the virtual Ouija board? Jim Clark, "a Londoner of English Irish descent."

Most viewed? Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven" with over 65,000. Least viewed? Coventry Patmore "The Toys" with 71 (but to be fair it's pretty new. Also, who has ever heard of Coventry Patmore?). There's even a poem called "Monkeys" by Padraic Colum. I'd embed it here if I thought it any good.

I think the creepiest aspect of these videos (did I mention that there are almost 250 of them?) is how the entire image moves, not just the poet's mouth. Even the background bends. The poet's entire face contorts in weird ways. Like in this video of "The Leaden Echo" by Gerard Manley Hopkins. It doesn't so much look like the Manley man is speaking as much as it looks like his face is caving in.

Not all of the videos feature the poet's actual voices. But some do. Best poetry reading voice ever? Edna St. Vincent Millay. Crank that shit and do Halloween up right.

Thanks for the tip, Meghan (Ms. Sitar if you're nasty).

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