EMU student Stephanie Walla reviews the recent BathHouse reading featuring the Creative Writing Faculty:
The Bathhouse Reading at Sponberg Theater on September 29th featured three of Eastern Michigan’s Creative Writing faculty- Christine Hume, Carla Harryman, and Rob Halpurn. Christine Hume opened reading pieces from her book, Shot, which was accompanied by soundtracks made especially per piece. Each soundtrack acted as a main support to each poem, and occasionally as background, always to enhance the reading and the experience of hearing each piece read. For instance, in the first poem the soundtrack was of another woman’s voice repeating the poem just behind Christine’s reading; in another it played eerie music to match the language. Adding the soundtrack made the reading multidimensional so that the audience was submerged in the language, inspiring a need to create sound within the poems that static words simply written on a page can’t produce.
Carla Harryman followed, reading several pieces from multiple sources. Jackson MacLow’s Light Poems inspired one where she used the same general idea, but different techniques. Playing off of the different definitions of light like MacLow, Carla read her poem in a list format, reading off each enjambment definition as they played on each other. MacLow’s version was slower and more elaborately defined whereas the speed at which Carla read was captivating, proving the usefulness of hybridity- his idea with her presentation created an entertaining performance. She ended by reading from Baby, a serial work of poems. The work emphasized the world through the intrinsic and unique perspective of “Baby”- an infant observing the world and applying her own politics as she views it.
Finishing the reading was Rob Halpern who read from a book of poems he wrote inspired by the affects of September 11th. His work highlighted the use of serial works- although each piece had its own image, the feeling of the whole book was produced through the pieces being read one right after another. Specific people were mentioned liked soldiers and survivors but they seemed secondary to change and difference, longing and loss, which took form and were their own characters in his performance. His use of enjambment allowed the images of economy crisis to merge with war scenes with a lilting rhythm that creates a nostalgic longing for the past and calls for a direct path for a changing future.