Kelly McKinne reviews Yedda Morrison

Student Kelly McKinne reacts to Yedda Morrison’s BathHouse reading: 

As the sound of the microphone giving feedback resembled the crackle of logs on a fire, coupled with a conveniently placed Coleman lantern on the stage, Yedda Morrison read to us from Girlscout Nation and created an image of the audience sitting around a campfire making smores.  “Society and their relentless hiking”.  This is just one of many lines I feel that Yedda Morrison beautifully scripted in her presentation on Tuesday.  I feel that she was detailed enough in her descriptions that I was captivated, yet she was not overly wordy.  I feel that as a writer, that is often a fine line in which we have to teach ourselves to walk.  I know I, myself, would like to improve my ability to describe a scene, or in this instance, a subversive societal trait.  Is “relentless hiking” a euphemism for a society of people that are searching for something that they will never find?  This isn’t the only wonderfully descriptive phrase that begged for my attention during Yedda’s reading.  I also enjoyed her phrase “an empire built on cabbage”, which I felt cabbage was an analogy for money.  This phrase appears subtle, but when you think about it, the phrase is extremely deep.  I really enjoy description like this, and I love hearing it used in text because it give me examples of how I can incorporate it into my own writing.  I truly felt like I was learning from a master when I walked out of the auditorium that day.  

Throughout the reading, I was really able to see the depth of Yedda Morrison as an artist, and I feel that there are many characteristics that I would love to take away from our encounter.  I thoroughly enjoyed how she was able to tell us a story with Girlscout Nation that truly had a lot of depth and background yet kept it from being too heavy.  She was able to visit this story in several different ways, including when she incorporated a nursery rhyme tone in her reading, then abruptly shift to incorporate the words “triple murder, homicide” in the heart of the song.  As an audience member, it showed me the contrast of the piece with the innocence of the girls involved as well as the reality of the situation they were placed in. 

Although her reading of Girl Scout Nation could be enough to feed the masses in attendance that day, she also described her work with erasure writing and The Darkness, as well as some of her art work.  I felt that it was her work with the erasure style of writing that spoke to me more than any other subject matter that day.  I recently wrote a poem where I attempted erasure writing, and I feel that it was serendipity that Yedda presented us with her work on The Darkness.  Her ability to find key words to convey her message as well as her self described struggle for the right word struck a chord with my own struggle in my poem.  Yedda told us that she still reads her piece feeling that she is on the edge about subtracting a word from the original piece she began working with.  

Finally, in her artwork, Yedda brought to light two phrases that I feel I must touch on to do her justice for such amazing work.  I noticed her mentioning several times, her attempts to “reconstruct the image” and that her image would animate the natural remains of a place.  I feel that this phrase could be applied to not only her work as an artist with her images, but also her writing with Girl Scout Nation and The Darkness where she is retelling a story and animating the remains of the previous piece.  The second phrase was “colonial project”, and I feel that she could have applied that phrase to her writing as well as her artwork because as a writer. In her writing, she was visiting an unfamiliar piece and reworking it or taking it over to make it into something with a different meaning much like colonialism.

Overall, I feel that I learned a lot from Yedda Morrison’s reading Tuesday.  I try to take away something positive from every person I encounter, and I feel that I can attempt to apply several of her talents I witnessed during her reading.