Karole Langset reviews Yedda Morrison

Another review from Karole Langset, this time about Yedda Morrison’s recent BathHouse reading:

Yedda Morrison performance at EMU was abstract, unfamiliar, and yet awe inspiring. As Morrison came on to the stage the room went dark and her lantern she carefully placed on to the stage became the only noticeable light to fight the darkness of the room. She wanted to quickly go into performance and read parts of her book Girl Scout Nation; yet, she is called back into the crowd as someone holds up materials for her to grab. She quickly leaves the stage saying frustrated yet quirkily, “I wanted to go right into performance!”

The room felt different than the usual Bathhouse readings to which I go.  It was a mixed crowd of photography and writing students.  There was a noticeable tension between the two fields as if they weren’t sure how to feel about being mixed up together or how to appreciate the mixed media as a whole. Some art students were tapping feet as she began to read from her book wondering when they could see her photography.  Then when she finished reading and started talking about her photography and wallpapers many writers left and some stiffened in their seats wondering how they could leave without being rude.

The tension was perhaps heightened by the intensity of Morrison. Her voice as she read was satisfying in a strange, distant way. It is a voice of grief yet clear without a tremble.  Her voice pierces without being sharp; in fact it so smooth that it makes the listener tremble. After some reading she then grabbed what seemed to be a veil or perhaps some kind of netted protection over her face.  My uncertainty of what this face cover object is only ties more to her subject, a mix of grief and wilderness lost.

I must admit sometimes I got distracted from the meaning of her words, because her shadow on the red curtain captured my eyes.  Morrison’s shadow as she read becomes some kind of creature, some kind of animal, bending over what I thought might have been a bonfire. This distraction of mine only added the feeling of wilderness and distortion to me.  I wonder if she knew that her lantern on her stage would create such a profound image.

Morrison seems to have no limitations when comes to wide range of art. She is poet, a singer, a performer, a bird caller, and a photographer.  Her showing of her eraser writing and eraser photography was compelling and opened my eyes more to the similarities to the two fields. Even though her art and voice created a somber mood there were still ripples of cheek and humor.  In one performance, I sensed Morrison humanness and honesty beyond her art.  She is very compelling artist making her show fascinating.