Lori H. Ersolmaz A visual poem




This film-poem is a very personal endeavor, reflecting my feelings and emotions while I was undergoing treatment for an ovarian mass. From the time I received the head-spinning news, I spent most of my time trying to gather as much information as possible from the Internet, and spoke with friends who had been through a similar situation. At the onset of my symptoms I found myself awake at 2:00 AM experimenting with video in a darkened hotel room lit only by the TV. The footage is quite metaphoric in numerous ways. My conversations with doctors, family, and friends were often chaotic and distressing at best. I quickly found that my primary care doctor’s bedside manner didn’t mesh well with me because she insisted that I had ovarian cancer, while my oncologist surgeon and gynecologist gave me somewhat better odds.

While in despair and feeling incredibly uncreative, I searched for an appropriate poem to re-create my feelings with visual storytelling. I didn’t have to look very far. Nina Corwin’s poem “Homeopathy” starts out with “We can play in the dark” and ironically this was represented with my hotel footage before I even read her poem.

I sat on the poem for several months, but during that time I made notes of additional visuals needed, filmed more and searched on Pond 5 and Archive.org for horror movies and nuclear bombings. While I edited the first minute or two prior to my surgery, it was largely left unfinished until a month after my recovery.

This is my longest film-poem, and I purposely wanted it that way. Although I only had to wait two and half months to hear whether I had cancer or not, it felt like an eternity. Even though I kept a positive attitude, every waking moment I considered how my health issue would change my life and those around me forever. It was nothing short of gut-wrenching, and felt like it would never end. When I awoke from the five hour surgical ordeal and heard the good news from my husband—-benign—indeed, as Homeopathy reveals, I felt incredibly lucky to be able to “play flick the switch…”

The film uses linear imagery that reflects the known yet unknown, and darting screen movements resemble the chaos and lack of control I felt. In the end I’m left with five new linear scars as a reminder of my experience.

As for the music, I hadn’t realized it, but on an earlier visit to Pond 5 I downloaded the free Chopin Sonata No. 2 in B-flat music file. The music was familiar to me, and I didn’t know why, but it hit the somber note of my feelings. Slow. Deliberate. Making peace with what could be next. Little did I know until I Googled it that this is Chopin’s well-known Funeral March!

I couldn’t be happier to have had access to Nina Corwin’s fine poem, and the process provided me with recovery and closure, yet helped me to document my emotions before, during and after a traumatic life event.

Poetry by Nina Corwin

Poetry Storehouse.com

Film and concept by Lori H. Ersolmaz

Archival Footage: Archive.org; Pond 5 | Public Domain Project

Music: Chopin Piano Sonata No2 B-flat (Pond 5)

Lori H. Ersolmaz is the founder of Voices of Hope Productions, an entrepreneur, a visual storyteller, a multimedia content producer and grassroots media outreach professional. Lori has diverse experience working with Fortune 200 corporations, nonprofit organizations and policy think-tanks on marketing, communication design and new media initiatives. She is also an Adjunct Professor at Rider University in the Communication and Journalism Department, and the Film and Media Studies Program.  She has served on a nonprofit board and was a founding member of the New Jersey Integrated Justice Alliance, a solution-oriented group of organizations that generates and supports effective public policies before, during, and after incarceration.  Lori hold a  Master of Arts degree in Media Studies and Film from The New School.


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