Embarkation

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“Butter lamp, incense stick, bees wax / votive, the occasion of poem, rites I enact…” In this video poem, Shin Yu Pai reimagines the traditional Wang Yeh Boat Burning Festival, a Taoist ritual, in the context of personal grief. Created in collaboration with filmmaker Scott Keva James, the short film was commissioned for the Ampersand Live showcase in Seattle. Pai is the final judge for Slippery Elm’s Deanna Tulley Multimedia Prize, which is open for submissions until September 30.

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On Lockdown

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“We are // more vulnerable / by far // than is realized / by even our // least sung, / furthest flung, // and most / compromised.” This Motionpoems short film directed by Calum Macdiarmid features a poem written by Motionpoems founder Todd Boss, the first in a series that specifically speaks to a pandemic-ridden world which was commissioned by the University of Minnesota Medical School’s Center for the Art of Medicine.

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Shailja Patel

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“I’ve said so often that I’m hoarse with it: Kenya is cities, towns, as well as wilderness. See us.” Shailja Patel, author of Migritude (Kaya Press, 2010), contributes this video poem for Queer Check-Ins, a series curated by poet Franny Choi with support from the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, Kundiman, and Lambda Literary.

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The Transformation

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“It wasn’t fair that fish could see color, / and whales could not, but I was okay: I loved my new body. / I don’t know what kind of whale I was. In the ocean / there were no mirrors.” Emily Jungmin Yoon’s poem “The Transformation,” which appears in her debut collection, A Cruelty Special to Our Species (Ecco, 2018), has been adapted into a Motionpoems film directed by Malin Sandberg. 

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