Refugee-ism (Baram LXVII)



Safe havens
Are worldly productions
But so are
Their opposite.
Safety is only temporarily
Then the thunder of anxiety returns
And the world’s capacity for hope
Is parked somewhere …
Is, is –
And endangered.
You can cry out all you want,
The city is deafer than heaven.
But even in moments of desperation
Do not surrender.
Find peace –
Walk to it
Walk as if in a blue space.
Ignore the bad emissions
And attempt some kind of meditation.
For in this world
Brutes remain;
That will not change.








Process notes: I became interested in making videos (both of my prose and poetry a few years ago). Because I’m self-taught and also rather isolated (I live in Korea), I developed the habit of making all aspects of the videos, from the writing of them to doing art-work and music. (I originally was a visual artist during my 20s, branching out into published writing in my 30s; making music is a new creative activity for me.) As a result, while this work is very obviously videopoetry, I also define it as belonging to a sub-genre which I term “the authorial movie”; that is, there is one artist who creates – who authors – the video, just as in the traditional literary arts as they have manifested themselves in the West for the past several centuries (but not so much in other cultures, where oral traditions and consequently collaboration are more accepted), one literary artist creates a text. Both collaborations and individual creations are highly admirable forms of artistic endeavour; however, the process of creation is not the same.

This video started with drawings that I was making for a novel, as well as photos I was shooting in the province of South Korea that my wife and I live in (Kyonggi-do – the province where Seoul is located). I was modifying these images with my smart phone at the time – a Galaxy Note. The poem is part of a much longer series entitled the Baram Series, and is thematically linked insofar as most of the videos are thematically concerned with the tension that exists between urban development and nature. The videos also have to do with history (quite blood-soaked in this region), and the economic and social stresses that individual people live under.

Bio: Finn Harvor
I am a writer, artist, filmmaker and occasional musician. My written work (both academic and popular) has been published in THE PURITAN, PACIFISM 21, FORMER PEOPLE, ECLECTICIA, THE BROOKLYN RAIL, THIS MAGAZINE, and elsewhere. I have had group or solo shows of my visual art in Canada, Cuba and Korea, and my movies have been screened in Canada, the United States, Greece, and South Korea. I recently delivered a keynote speech at a conference of comparative literature in Seoul, and had a work screened at the Athens Poetry Film Festival. I have participated in conferences (in person) in Oxford, Liverpool, Berlin, Dubrovnik, Osaka, Seoul, Youngju, and Jember (Indonesia). I have also taken part in conferences via Skype in Helsinki, Madrid, and Kuala Lumpur. Academically, I have written on videopoetry, graphic fiction, William Blake, Thomas De Quincey, and Yoon Heung-gil. In terms of creative work, my focus is the “authorial movie”, a work in which one creator authors all elements in the film.

Leave a Reply

Your e-mail address will not be published. Required fields are marked *