Wednesday, February 06, 2013
'First Death in Nova Scotia': John Scott's adaptation of a poem by Elizabeth Bishop
direct link: First Death in Nova Scotia: an adaptation of a poem by Elizabeth Bishop
John Scott's new cinepoem is strange and haunting and beautiful: 'First Death in Nova Scotia,' a new adaptation of an Elizabeth Bishop poem. John wrote in an email:
"I would love it if you could spread the word on your facebook page or blog. We're seeking a wide audience for it in an effort to build energy and credibility for a longer documentary we want to make on the poet Elizabeth Bishop. I know that you're a busy person and your help is definitely appreciated!"
With a death in my family last year, my 89 year old mother passed away peacefully in a nearby nursing home, and memories of a deceased second cousin, a middle-aged man, lying in a coffin in a house in England when I was perhaps eight years old, this cinepoem moved me in that profound way that gazing upon someone who has died does. The whiteness, the life etched in the features, the form that is already dissolving. And of course the tragedy, and an unearthly peace. Yet, as Scott's cinepoem shows with the animation, the voiceover, the poet who gazes upon death is also in the strange and mysterious realm of art-making, of an imaginative excess that forms metaphors of living, and the ability to withstand through those metaphors. The paintings whose eyes move, the shot stuffed loon on its iced lake of white marble who watches with a knowing that the child understands, such metaphors (both verbally in Bishop's poem and visually in Scott's enactment) enable a coherence and meaning in the comprehension of our impermanent lives.