‘Mind Your Head: The Poems of Henry Ponder’

Film & Motion Graphics, Book Design

Short film and paper on the poetry of Henry Ponder, one of Britain's most thoughtful but lesser known poets.

In 2014, Pentagram partner Naresh Ramchandani discovered a minor poet by the name of Henry Ponder, a man tweeting very short daily poems in which he contemplated his everyday world. Henry wrote about the restorative nature of sweeping a floor, and the brusqueness of the language of warning signs, and the inner-softness and vulnerability of a pain au raisin, and more.

Ramchandani decided that unknown poet deserved to be better known. So, he contacted him on Twitter and arranged to meet him. In person, he was a small, shy man shy with unkempt hair and thick-rimmed glasses. When Ramchandani suggested the idea of making a very short film about him, Ponder thought for a while, and then said “That would be kind.”

And so he starting filming. To honour Henry’s love of simplicity, director Chris Dada shot the film on a wind-up 16mm Bolex. Respecting Henry’s love of words, Pentagram partner Harry Pearce created striking titles from old Swiss spelling tiles. Respecting Henry’s love of order, Steven Qua decided to animate the letters of the titles in order of their position in the alphabet. Honouring Henry’s fondness for the moment, Graeme Miller played a Henry Ponder theme tune on an old ukulele in two takes.

The resulting film, Mind Your Head, features seven poems by Ponder which touch on themes of Balance, Identity, Guilt, Intrusion, Empathy, Sacrifice and Tea. It was premiered at the Electric Cinema in London’s Portobello Road where a full house was quietly moved and given some pause to think.

Guests also received a paper called All Things Considered, a collection of 62 of Henry’s poems, loving designed by Pentagram partner Angus Hyland and signed by the poet himself.

Naresh Ramchandani
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