Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Poet on the Poem: Ed Byrne

You may already know Ed Byrne as the editor of Valparaiso Poetry Review, one of our better online journals. You may also know Ed through his blog, One Poet's Notes. You may already also know him as a poet. If not, here's a chance to fill in that gap. It is a particular pleasure to put the spotlight on a poet who, in his other capacities, so often puts the spotlight on other poets.

Edward Byrne is the author of six collections of poetry, most recently Seeded Light (Turning Point Books, 2010). His poems have appeared in numerous journals such as American Poetry Review, Missouri Review, and North American Review. His essays of literary criticism have been published in various journals and book collections, including Mark Strand (Chelsea House Publishers), edited by Harold Bloom, and A Condition of the Spirit: The Life and Work of Larry Levis (Eastern Washington University Press), edited by Christopher Buckley and Alexander Long. He is a professor in the English Department at Valparaiso University, where he edits Valparaiso Poetry Review.

Today's poem comes from Ed's new collection, Seeded Light.

(click cover for Amazon)

After the Miscarriage

Before breakfast, passing below the blank
. . . . .windows of lovers' hotel rooms, we walked

toward the harbor. At the end of a steep
. . . . .cobblestone street, we could see the water's

edge, its morning mist still lifting
. . . . .like a vague gray veil and dissipating

as if in some deliberate act of abandonment,
. . . . .although the horizon line was yet nowhere

to be seen. A few boys in black coats
. . . . .huddled together against the still chilly

spring weather. Beside the low wall
. . . . .along the wharf that now seemed bleached

white by an early light, hands cupped
. . . . .for shelter from the wind, they smoked

cigarettes and spoke of last evening's
. . . . .adventures-once more told those lies

they'd told before. Alone among rows
. . . . .of umbrellaless cafe tables, you wrote

notes home on a picture postcard
. . . . .addressed to your sister, while I bought

fresh fruit and flowers at the market,
. . . . .even though I could not find the yellow

roses you'd hoped would brighten
. . . . .our rented brownstone apartment.

Returning, we moved through the public
. . . . .park, its thin trees and clusters of lilac

shrubs just beginning to bud, its large
. . . . .garden plots already filling with color.

As we followed the red brick path
. . . . .all around a reflecting pool, we listened

to the shrill whistle of an overnight
. . . . .train finally arriving at the railway

terminal, and we heard the slow toll
. . . . .of cathedral bells calling parishioners

for morning Mass, both of us believing
. . . . .each sound offered its own form of warning.

DL: The title of this poem is a good example of the power a title can have. Yours colors the reader’s understanding of and emotional response to the poem. Did it come before or after you wrote the poem? Did you set out to write a poem about a miscarriage?

EB: I never decide upon a title for a poem before the end of writing a first draft, especially because my method of writing does not allow for me to know what the poem will concern until I am somewhat into the process of composition. I almost always begin with only an image or phrase that I regard as interesting, which initiates a discovery of other lines describing scenes and actions, one leading to another. I remember that this poem initiated with the following simple thought and straightforward opening statement: “Below windows of hotel rooms, we walked toward the harbor.”

I frequently comment that my poems begin with an image or incident, seek out a conflict, and arrive at a resolution, whether stated or suggested by the close of the poem. When I wrote this poem, I didn’t know what the topic would be until I was two-thirds of the way through the original draft. At that point I realized I was wondering about the emotional state of a couple that has felt a sense of loss.

The poem is not autobiographical or documentary. Indeed, after the book was published, my wife had to assure friends and relatives that she’d not kept from them the secret of a miscarriage. Instead, I drew inspiration from those I have known who have been through such a situation. I also considered how my parents might have felt after a sister of mine died in her infancy when I was young. In addition, I might have been reflecting an emotion felt when my own son was diagnosed with autism—representing an initial awareness parents of autistic children often experience, that the individual they had envisioned growing up and inhabiting a certain kind of imagined future had somehow been taken away from them.

DL: In addition to the work done by the title, your details provide an understory, a sub-text. For example, “boys in black coats,” “Shrill whistle,” “slow toll / of cathedral bells,” “morning Mass,” and “its own form of warning” convey an untold story and heighten the emotional intensity. How do you manage to balance the lyric and narrative impulses?

EB: My style of writing seems to naturally combine lyric language and ingredients of narrative or implied narrative subtexts. I feel comfortable with this mixture. Indeed, I intend that the two parts complement one another. Most of the details you mention were added in revisions (although all of them come from specific memories I have about various actual instances) after I had established the context of the poem, and each was inserted in order to create an ambiance supporting the subject matter or as a contrast to the position in which the couple find themselves.

My personal history includes interest in film studies, a topic that I have taught over the years and about which I have written extensively in the past. As my wife can verify, when watching films I’m always conscious of the many minor components within the frame of the screen. Directors making movies are aware of the contribution subtle background atmosphere (natural scenery, weather, sounds, actions, set decorations, and extra actors populating the area) can add to a film moment’s dramatic tension and emotional tone, even offering possible undercurrents or sub-plots. In my poetry I try to think cinematically and inject images or elements evoking various senses, as well as objects that mirror the kind of attention to detail I observe in effective movie scenes.

DL: What attracts you to the 2-line stanza?

EB: I have always believed the opening and closing lines of stanzas receive added attention from readers, and perhaps this form similarly forces such a concentrated focus on each line in the poem. Also, since my lines tend to be longer, the added white space between the many couplets serves to lessen the weight the poem might appear to have if the stanzas were shaped into large black blocks of print. I like to think of the stanza breaks as the leaven, substances that lift or transform what otherwise could be a heavy and doughy passage burdening the poetry.

I like the way the two-step form gives an illusion of order and a feeling of regular pacing throughout the poem, while the language remains a more relaxed and familiar free verse, presenting a tension between an apparently arranged stanza pattern and the casual flexibility within the lines. I am a big fan of jazz musicians, particularly those figures from the bebop era who used riffs from a standard song as a starting point around which they improvised and wound inventive solos. I like to think that in a small way the free verse two-step stanza imitates that method.

DL: Tell us about your use of syllabics.

EB: In the past I would write first drafts of poems in syllabic form: for instance, counting 8 or 9 or 10 syllables per line, sometimes simply for fun as an exercise. Then in the revisions I would add or subtract syllables as I sought more exact words or inserted more lyrical choices. Therefore, the final draft would contain only a rough resemblance to the strict syllabics in the original version. Still, the ghostly sense of syllabic form would somehow remain when readers encountered the poem.

In fact, even though I didn’t attempt to preserve the syllabics, and I thought the lines in final drafts always varied from the initial composition, occasionally the syllabic pattern would withstand the revisions. When one of my colleagues once asked me about a poem in one of my books that he taught to his class as an example of syllabic form, I had to confide to him that I was surprised because I thought I’d lost the true syllabic form when I had made many emendations in revision. In fact, I’d never counted the syllables after the first draft and didn’t realize the syllabic count had survived my revisions.

DL: You have a wonderful ear for the music in language. I find internal rhyme, assonance, consonance, and alliteration. To what extent do you labor to make use of such sonic devices? At what stage in your drafting do they enter in?

EB: If there were an aspect of my poetry that I find myself enjoying the most, the musicality of the work would be a primary candidate. As you indicate, I like to employ various devices that more subtly assimilate sound as a central element: internal rhyme, near rhyme, alliteration, assonance, or consonance. I enjoy adding onomatopoeic words as well. At times, I even playfully place words that are anagrams within lines of poems just for the ways they resemble one another in the reader’s eye and maybe the reader’s ear (i.e., “form” and “from,” “trace” and “crate,” or “grown” and “wrong”).

I’m also aware of purposely trying to have the speaker’s voice group similar sounding words or phrases and use vowels or consonants that imitate the tone of the content in the poem, perhaps contemplative or combative—whether with soothing softer sounds or the introduction of harder and harsher notes. Again thinking cinematically, I compare such an aural motif to soundtrack music that echoes the mood in a movie.

I regularly remind my students that writers must love words for their denotative meanings and connotative suggestions, as well as for their historic or cultural associations. I know I do. Moreover, they should be prepared to exploit the musicality of the language, appealing to the ear as well as the eye. If our selections are accurate and effective, each facet of the perfect word in any line of a poem could contribute to the overall goal of evoking emotional and intellectual responses from readers.

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Saturday, March 27, 2010

Poetry Book Giveaway

Anyone in the mood today for a stuffed artichoke? My poem, "The First Artichoke," is featured at Lisa Morgan's food blog, Champaign Taste. If you like food, be sure to visit and visit often. Lisa posts exquisite photos of fantastic dishes and offers lots of mouth-watering recipes. She's also a poetry lover, so often posts some tasty poems. I am honored that she is serving up mine.

In other tasty business, Kelli Russell Agodon has initiated the Poetry Book Giveaway to celebrate National Poetry Month. Quite a few poet-bloggers have signed on already. Visit Kelli's site for the list. Each participant offers to give away two poetry books and to mail them to the lucky winners. I have perused my shelves and am now officially adding my name and titles to the list.

Kelli has the complete rules at her site. Here's the nutshell version:

• Leave a comment on this post any time before May 1st, 2010.

• Include your name and a way to be contacted if/when you win.

• Check back on May 1st for a list of winners.

Sometime on May 1st I will randomly select the winners. The first will receive a copy of my book, What Feeds Us.

For a sample poem, check out The First Artichoke. My poem, "Linguini," is also linked at the same site. Or check any of the links in my sidebar.

The second lucky winner will receive a copy of Meg Kearney's book, Home by Now. This book was recently named a finalist in the Poetry category of ForeWord Review's Book of the Year Awards contest. If you would like to see a sample poem, check out Meg's Living in the Volcano

Be sure to leave a note in the Comments section of this post. Good luck!

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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

What Makes for a Good Poetry Reading?

For the second year in a row, I'm working with a group of college students who are organizing a poetry reading for me. They are all taking a poetry course and have been given the option of doing a traditional research paper or working with a poet on some kind of project. Which would you choose?

I have 7 students this year. At our first meeting I went over some of what I think are the characteristics of a good reading. That's a topic I've given a good deal of thought to in the hope of optimizing the readings I do. Of course, it's not all up to me. A lot depends on the venue, the venue host, and the audience. Here are some of my thoughts on readings.

The Host's Role

1. Good PR is essential. If no one knows about the reading, you can be sure no one will be there. If you're the host, you're obligated to spread the word as widely as you can. Posters, newspaper notices, online calendars, websites, blogs, email lists. It's really disheartening for the poet to arrive and learn that the host never got around to promoting the event. No excuses, Host.

2. Try to make the room comfortable. Arrive early to check the room temperature and the mic if there is one. Arrange the chairs so that the audience is neither too close to nor too far from the poet. If all the people gravitate to the back of the room, threaten them until they move to the front. Likewise, if half sit on the far right and half sit on the far left, ask people to move in a bit. These little things make a big difference in the comfort level of the reading.

3. If possible, provide a good sound system unless the room is small. Don't expect the poet to shout her poems. I gave a reading a few years ago in a coffee shop that had no mic. Coffee machines, chimes on the door, change rattling. Not so cool.

4. Be sure you provide a space for the poet's books to be displayed. Announce to the audience that books are available. If they're at a sale price, mention that. Repeat that. Do your best to help the poet sell some books, especially if your honorarium is small or non-existent. Don't make the poet hawk her own wares. If possible, provide someone to handle sales and make change.

5. This is going to sound cranky, but I'm saying it anyhow. Don't allow audience members to put out their own books for sale. And don't put out your own books. Just don't create competition for your visiting poet, especially if the poet has traveled a distance. Double especially if pay is minimal or non-existent.

6. If you can't offer an honorarium, consider putting out a basket. I did a reading some months ago where such a basket was put out, but guess what! The host kept everything that went into it. I'd driven 5 hours and paid for a hotel.

7. If there's an Open, manage it. Manage it. Have guidelines and enforce them. Many a reading has been spoiled by an Open that got out of hand and went on endlessly. When this happens, some audience members are discouraged from returning and you end up with an audience of open readers who are there to hear themselves. A well-run Open can, however, be fun. Limit the readers to one or two poems. That's it. No negotiating. Got a haiku? That's one poem. Anyone who arrives after the featured poet is finished reading should not be allowed to read. Something about good manners.

The Poet's Role

1. You can help with the PR. Post the reading at your website and blog and anywhere else you can think of. In addition to the preceding, notify people you know in the area that you'll be doing a reading and ask them to bring friends.

2. If the host neglects to put out your books, rectify that right away! I'm putting an exclamation point on that sentence because I have done a few readings where the host forgot about books and I was too timid to bring it up. Then I kicked myself all the way home.

3. Go prepared. Choose your poems before you arrive. I've heard a number of poets say they have to gauge the audience before they choose. Nonsense. That's just laziness. It's annoying and a waste of time for the audience to sit there while the poet fumbles through pages looking for what to read.

4. Time your reading ahead of time. You know how many poems will take up 30 minutes. Plan for that if that's the amount of time you have. Don't go beyond the time. Ever. And don't keep asking the host, How am I doing for time? How much time do I have left? Time for a few more poems? This makes the audience squirm.

5. Try to stay for the Open. If people came to hear you, it seems polite to stay to hear them. If you're driving a distance and have to leave, let the audience know that that's why you're leaving.

The Audience's Role

1. If you're in the audience and planning to read during the Open, please do not work on your own poem while the featured poet is reading. It's incredibly rude.

2. Do not give long preambles to your poem. Just read the poem.

3. Don't make announcements, especially ones about your own upcoming readings.

4. If you possibly can, support the poet with the purchase of a book. It means a lot to the poet. Really.

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Saturday, March 20, 2010

Girl Talk: A Reading in Celebration of Women's History Month

Last Saturday I ran a poetry reading called "Girl Talk." This was the third year of what I initially thought would be a once-only event. I've wanted to continue doing it because it has been fun and the people who participate ask to do it again. The event is held at my local library which has a nice Community Room. The librarian works with me in making the arrangements.

Here's how it goes. A few months before the selected date, always March to coincide with Women's History Month, I invite a few dozen women poets to participate. This year we started out with 30! A few too many because everyone said yes. That's the easy part. The hard part is having to say no to women who send notes asking to be included. I just can't add more than that. So I now have a "waiting list."

I ask the poets to each send me a brief bio. I post those on the Girl Talk page at my website. I ask for volunteers to bake cookies. This year I had 10 volunteer bakers. I also ask the women to bring friends to join the audience. Although the focus of the reading is a celebration of women, each year we have a number of men who join us.

There is a book sale at this event. Each of the poets is invited to bring six copies of one title for the book table. The librarian arranges for volunteers to man the table and handle the sales.

This year we were cursed by horrible weather, heavy rain and strong wind. Many sections of NJ and elsewhere were flooded and without power by late Saturday night. But mercifully the worst held off until after the event. Most of the poets remained undaunted by the dire predictions. We lost only three, the ones who were coming the farthest distance. We lost some audience, I'm sure, but it was still a good turnout. Even with fewer people, we sold more books this year than last.

Most importantly, everyone had a great time. Each poet read one poem only on a woman-related topic. We heard poems about mothers and daughters, grandmothers, body image, paying for college, good marriages and bad. It was wonderful to hear such a variety of voices coming together. After the reading, everyone was invited to stay and enjoy the refreshments.

Here's video which captures highlights of the day.

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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Book Trailer Recap

Thanks to everyone who commented on my book trailers either here or by email. I really appreciate that. The votes were fairly even but the iMovie took a slight lead, and I will now say that that's the one I'm partial to. I love the glitz of the Animoto one. The special effects are lively and appealing, but I felt that they distracted from the content. Interestingly, the people who favored that one said that it moved faster. Actually, it's a few seconds longer than the iMovie one. I think the effects give the illusion of greater speed. But I'm holding onto both, and maybe I'll alternate. I received a few suggestions for change, but this one was practice for the one I want to do for my new book. That's where I'll put your suggestions to use. I think my major goal is to go a bit shorter on the next one.

I prefer the iMovie one because I think it has greater clarity and the soundtrack sounds just a bit better. I think the text is more readable without all the flipping around. As far as the creation of the trailers goes, this one allowed me greater control over what was happening. For example, in iMovie I can exactly time each clip. I can also move the soundtrack and adjust its volume. I can add text right onto a clip if I want to. I can make an adjustment in iMovie without altering the rest of the movie. Can't do any of that with Animoto. In Animoto each change results in an entirely new look to the movie. It's just automatic. But I do love Animoto and expect that I will find a future use for it.

I'm going to list here some resources that you might find useful if you decide to make your own poem video or book trailer.

To see other videos and trailers and add your own:

Register on this site and you can then see examples and upload your own work. I just uploaded my trailer. Easy and the result is very good. You have to upload from your desktop. No option to upload from YouTube. I haven't yet figured out how people happen to find your video here.

Poetry Speaks
Another site for videos and a place for uploading your own work. At this site you upload from YouTube or desktop. You can add videos for free in the Your Mic program. If you want your name to come up on the site's search engine and if you want people to be able to download your poems, you'll have to pay for that. Right now I don't see any benefit to that. Passing on that option.

Book Trailers
Register and join this site. Then you can upload your videos. This is a ning site, so you get your own page and can customize it. Your video displays on the front page after you upload it. Don't know how long it remains there. A blog and discussion topics.

Place to have a trailer made for you:

Authors Broadcast
Makes book trailers. You can view many examples here. Prices listed. Looks more geared towards prose but I'm guessing they could do poetry too.

You can get as many free 30 second videos as you want, but you won't be happy with that. Then you can sign on for a one year deal for just $30. That entitles you to as many videos in a year as you like of any length. You have to do the bulk of the work here, i.e., upload your photos, add text, add a soundtrack. The program then mixes for you. The results are really cool. Limitations are lack of control over timing of each clip and inability to edit and then prevent the program from remixing. But very very cool program.

Places to get photos:

Photo Xpress
I love this site. Register and you get one free photo download per day. Join their Facebook fan page and you get four more. Sign on via your cell phone and you get five more. That's ten free photos per day. Large and really nice. Of course, you can buy more.

Another great site. You need to register and nothing is for free here, but the photos are high quality. And you can get video clips which add a lot of power and visual appeal to your video. You make your purchases using a credit system. A credit seems to be about 95 cents. The bigger the image, the more credits required. Dollars add up quickly, but a few splurges here might be well worth it.

I received a promotional offer from this place. Sign on and I'd be allowed to download 3 free photos for 7 days. Signed on, but trouble with the downloading part. Took a few days to sort
out with tech support. You can also purchase here as at istockphoto, using the credit system.

Big Foto
Offers an array of free photos. I'm not keen on the categories they use to organize the photos and there's no search option, but I see a lot of nice images and they appear to be good quality.

Google Images
Put the name of what you're looking for into the search window and a ton of stuff will come up. Two caveats: one) Be careful not to violate any copyrights. If the site looks like a photographer's site, don't download the image. Or try contacting and asking for permission; two) Be sure the image is large enough and clear enough to work well. If not, it will be grainy-looking. And who wants a grainy picture?

Where to get music:

Kevin MacLeod offers royalty-free music which downloads as mp3's. Music is categorized in a few ways so you can find what you want quite easily. Each recording's time is indicated (note that the time is a few seconds longer than the music actually lasts), and you can listen to the music without downloading. Like it, then download it.

So now you've got your poem video or book trailer. What to do with it? Post it to the sites listed above. Post it to YouTube (of course), Facebook, Red Room, She Writes, GoodReads, your Author's Page at Amazon—you must be a member of these sites to upload your videos. Then post at your blog and your website. Email the video to your email list. You can send the link or embed in the email message. Different mail programs may or may not allow this--my gmail does, mac does not.

Note: If you upload to YouTube and then download to another site such as Red Room or Poetry Speaks, you may find that your video has black bars at top and bottom of the screen (just as your old tv had when you were on an hd channel). This seems to happen because YouTube makes the video for wide screen. There are two ways I've found to work around this. One: adjust the "aspect ratio" on your movie before you upload it to YouTube from 16:9 to 4:3. I made two versions, one in each ratio. When I posted the 4:3 one to Red Room, I lost the black bars. Likewise at Poetry Speaks. Two: upload from your desktop onto the site, e.g., She Writes, but not all sites allow this option.

I hope these resources will be useful to you as you make your own videos and trailers. Have fun. Be patient. Do not rush your project. A bad video or trailer is worse than none at all. You'll spend a lot of time on the first one. The following ones will come faster and easier.

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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

An Invitation to Girl Talk Reading

You're Invited

Girl Talk: A Women's Poetry Reading

Saturday, March 13, 2010

A Celebration of Women's History Month

More than Two Dozen Women Poets

Reading Poems That Reflect the Lives of Women

1:00 PM-4:00 PM

Community Room
West Caldwell Public Library
30 Clinton Rd.
West Caldwell, New Jersey

Free and Open to the Public

Tea Party Following the Reading
Please join the poets for coffee, tea, cookies, and conversation.
Books available for sale and signing.

For details and directions

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Friday, March 5, 2010

My Book Trailer(s): The Unveiling

If you've been following my recent blog posts, you know that I've been working on making a book trailer for my poetry book, What Feeds Us. This is in the nature of an experiment. Having noticed that many prose writers make book trailers, I began to wonder why poets weren't doing the same thing. It seemed logical to me that we should be making trailers. After all, poetry is the oral art. It seemed to me that we were missing an opportunity to get our voices heard and to try another marketing strategy. So I began to do a bunch of research.

I've now watched several hours' worth of trailers. I haven't found a single one of a poetry book that really fits into what I think of as a book trailer. Plenty of individual poem videos and many of those I loved and admired. But I wanted something that would provide a sense of the entire collection, not just a sample poem. I don't see this as an either / or issue; I think we should be doing both. So my challenge was to create such a trailer. Since my new book won't be out until June, I worked with my more recent book, What Feeds Us.

I first worked with iMovie on my iMac. I love that program. I didn't want to spend any money on this, so I used Images at Google to find pictures. Before finding the pictures, though, I went through the book and made a list of dominant motifs and images. Then I set about finding some good food pictures to represent the poems that are about literal food. But my book is also about other ways in which we are fed or not fed, nourished or not nourished. So I also looked for pictures of love and sex and families, healthy and broken. I loaded these into a new project in iMovie and added transitions. Not enough to give a good sense of the book. I added some text. Too many text pages, so I moved some text on top of images to shorten the movie as I wanted to keep it to a maximum of two minutes.

I wanted a cover image so added that. I used Keynote to add some text to the same page. To turn that to a jpeg, I did a screenshot and resized, then dragged the image into the project. Took some experimentation and time, but progress was being made. I added some text to better convey the themes. I added some snippets from blurbs. I added an author photo and credits.

Time for the soundtrack. Off I went to Kevin MacLeod's Royalty-Free Music. I wanted something that was upbeat but also had undercurrents that suggested some of the darker aspects of the book. I wanted the pace not too fast, not too slow. I needed a track that fit what had come to two minutes. I found just what I wanted, downloaded the mp3, and dragged it into the project. Easy. The video was a bit longer than the track so the opening seemed slow to me with no sound. I filled in that empty space by making a QuickTime audio track with me saying the title and my name. Dragged it in ahead of the other track and "normalized" the volume so it would match the music. The timing now was just right.

Asked for some opinions from family members. I asked if my trailer accurately conveyed the collection. Did it make the collection appealing? If viewers didn't already have the book, would the trailer make them want to buy it? The family gave me good marks. Now it's time to go public. So here's the iMovie trailer.

Because this was fun (though time-consuming) and because I also wanted to see what I could do at Animoto, I joined that site. Initially, I just fooled around with the 30-second free video option. When I felt that I'd learned my way around the site, I signed on for the $30 one-year account. This allows me to make as many full-length videos as I want.

I then uploaded all the pictures I had used in the iMovie. Because you can't add text right onto an image as you can in iMovie, I added text clips, but that really increased the length of the video. Also, once the program mixed the video, some of the text didn't match up clearly with its corresponding image. So then I took screenshots from the iMovie and added those. That gave me text on the images. A lot of work and I first needed the other movie, but it was a way to get text on an image.

I uploaded the soundtrack, but could not upload my voiceover part as Animoto takes only mp3's. I then found a file converter called Switch Audio Converter which allows me to convert the mac format to an mp3. (Also available for Windows.) But Animoto allows for the upload of just one track so I used QuickTime to create one new audio including my voiceover and Kevin's music. Not happy with the difference in volume so ended up making a new track by recording from the iMovie. Then I used Switch to convert it to an mp3. Then uploaded that.

Animoto automatically adds effects and they are very cool. If you don't like the result, you can remix by hitting a button. Each time you Edit, the video will be different. This is good and bad. Bad in that you can't choose. Good in that the program does the work. Also, you can alter timing only to 3 different speeds. You can get a bit more time on a particular clip by spotlighting it, but that's it. On iMovie, you can exactly set the timing for both clips and transitions. I then turned over another $5 for a hi-res version. The quality on my desktop is wonderful, but I think a good deal of that quality is lost in the YouTube upload.

Take a look at this one. What do you think? How do the two versions compare?

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