Friday, November 5, 2021

Benjamin Niespodziany : on The Northerners




The Northerners is a chapbook-length poetry sequence written while watching the 1992 Dutch film De Noorderlingen (The Northerners). The movie takes place on one solitary street and in one secluded forest. Together, the film feels like a series of Russel Edson poems. Absurdist vignettes. Folkloric strange happenings. I had already watched the movie a handful of times and decided to watch it on mute while freewriting. Done over three sessions in 2019 and 2020, I then trimmed the writing down – from nearly 2,000 words to 800 – and turned it into a micro poetry sequence. I highly recommend you watch this film by Alex van Warmerdam, as well as his more recent (and more surreal) Borgman.

Along with The Northerners (which was the first of this ongoing series), I have written another 50+ pieces while watching various movies on mute. One during the French film Mood Indigo (2013) that was published in Heavy Feather Review (and nominated for the Best of the Net). One during the Swedish film You, the Living (2009) which is forthcoming from Mercurius Magazine. One during the Greek film Birds (Or How to Be One) which is forthcoming from HAD. All of these are part of a manuscript-in-progress with a working title of Ekphrastic Jazz. Some of the other movies I've watched for this series include Borgman (mentioned above), El Topo, Holy Motors, Pity, Mr Magorium's Wonder Emporium, and more. Even Looney Tunes makes an appearance.




Benjamin Niespodziany's writing has appeared in the Wigleaf Top 50, Fence, Salt Hill Journal, Fairy Tale Review, and various others. He has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net, and Best Microfiction. A former Peace Corps Volunteer in Ecuador, he currently works nights in a library in Chicago and runs the multimedia art blog [neonpajamas].

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