When I did research papers in middle school, before the internet was the first place anyone went to for information, I remember pulling heavy encyclopedias and informative books that had several volumes in the series. When citing them there would always be several authors, which made sense because there was lot of information to be organized in these books. I never really gave how the informative tomes had come into existence until I attended a lecture about collaboration.
I’m sitting in the scratchy auditorium chair, flipping through my phone. I got here early because I hate crowds and I wanted to get a seat close to the end so I can make a quick get away once this is over. I know, I know -I’m a terrible person. These Bathhouse events are for the students. And as a creative writing minor, I should be interested. I should be attentive. But the fact is I just got done with a long day of class and the only thing I’m thinking about is how early do I need to go to bed to get up in the morning without wanting to shove a fork in my eye?
On November 28 and 29 two Bathhouse reading events took place in the auditorium of Roosevelt hall on campus. There were three authors in the event, beginning with a reading on the afternoon of the 28th and a panel discussion including audience questions on the 29th.
On the first day of the Bathhouse readings we listened to Dimitri Anastasopoulos, Camille Roy, and Rachel Letvisky read from some of their past works as well as new pieces either recently published or currently being written. Having four creative writing classes this semester I’ve read pieces from every one of those writers.
This past week was a big one for both students and faculty. Performers from each echelon exhibited work in the Detroit Metro Area. Both Dr. Christine Hume and CW Grad Student Danielle Etienne were among the artists performing.
On Thursday November 8th at 7:00pm at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD), the blog bore witness to both a Reading & Performance of Catherine Wagner & Christine Hume. Christine Hume started the night with a solemn incantation in a piece titled “Speech Talks Back,” afterwards Catherine Wagner performed poems from her new book, Nervous Device (City Lights, 2012).
During Dr. Hume’s piece, the gallery space was plunged into near dark, a single light illuminating the reading space. The audience sat hushed, and distracted. Dr. Hume read as simultaneous audio boomed from several speakers. At times ears were overwhelmed with the recording and at other times one could feel the reading more palpably. The effect was incongruous with the play between the two channels of narration creating a third space where the piece took form. The performance caught the audience in this third space, between the poles of navigation, the reading and the recording.
On Saturday November 10th at 8:00pm, Creative Writing Graduate Student Danielle Etienne read three short fiction pieces at Flip Salon in Ferndale. The exhibition/performance, titled Little Cloud Rising/STRAIGHT TO HELL, also featured artwork from artist Jacqueline Woodrich and live musical accompaniment. The space itself, Flip Salon, is indeed a hair salon. Artwork lined the walls and Ms Etienne read in the “waiting room” while the audience crowded around and watched from a variety of perches. As Ms Etienne read a banjo played on, the aura of white trash hillbilly that Ms Etienne articulates in her piece was brought twanging into the salon space. The audience hooted and hollered throughout the performance as Ms Etienne’s evocative descriptions filled them with laughter or caused them to cringe inwardly.
Each of the events was a remarkable demonstration of the breadth of diversity that is present in the EMU Creative Writing Program and the blog looks forward to more performances of both students and faculty.
The Gregory Brothers incoming to EMU campus November 28th. That’s one week after thanks giving. They will be “speaking” in the Student Center Grand Ballroom, their performance begins at 7:00pm. The Gregory Brothers, of auto tune the news fame, are sure to brighten a dreary November with their unique comedy.
One never knows what to expect when they show up to a reading, but you know when it’s a Prof’s house, that the A-game will be brought.
First Wendy Kramer presented, “The Morton Salt Girl Monologue: NaCl and the Meaning of Her Mark” accompanied by collaged trademark images she had created of the changing icon over the years. In a performance including visual and auditory cohesion and dissonance, she read both stage direction and script of a constructed text for the girl. This was followed by David Buuck who presented “We are all Sound: Poetics and Public Space in the Occupy Oakland Movement” which expressed an “on the scene” accounting of the challenges of creating and distributing poetics that can attempt to convey, do justice to, or maybe even not to do too much justice to, the movement.