EMU student Ashleigh Smith reviews the recent BathHouse reading that featured Creative Writing Faculty:
In my opinion faculty readings are kind of like running into your teacher at a bar; you never really know what to expect or how the night will turn out. After a bit of a late start Christine Hume performed some pieces from her latest work Shot. I really enjoyed the soundtrack that went a long with her reading. The works she read were hazy and haunting, sort of like those moments right after waking up from a surreal dream. The soundtrack engulfed the room and intensified each phrase. The pieces Hume read had a sort of funky elegance; they were easy to dive into. By the time she was finished reading I had a page full of scribbled words that stood out to me and phrases that I didn’t want to forget. I thought her poetry had a certain dark tenderness to it.
Carla Harryman was up next and after a little finagling with the microphone she spoke about light poems, breath, and non-narrative work. She introduced us to a character named Baby who she said was many and all things at once. “Baby is a figure, a word, a character and much more,” she said. Harryman described the piece she read from as a lean into the poem in prose. Her work was detailed and took me through a bit of a word journey. Sentences and phrases lost themselves within each other, the moment I thought I had latched onto a narrative she went in a completely different direction. The part of Harryman’s reading that stood out to me the most was Baby’s “Interval with Teenagers”; it was as if Harryman was a fly on the wall in someone’s living room. Her description of the event was so clear and well defined.
Rob Halpern was an interesting contrast to both Hume and Harryman. I found the entire thing very sexual to say the least. The way Halpern swayed and rocked while saying things like, “…let’s make love like poems…” and “Whose bowels still hold my son?” His reading was smooth and almost hypnotizing. I found myself being mesmerized by his tone and especially the way he moved with the words. I admire Halpern for braving an especially touchy subject in Love Song to My Fallen Soldier, which was the first piece he read. He used a lot of language the some people would consider shocking or inappropriate but I never felt like he was trying to be that way. All in all I have to say, I enjoyed the reading and I was glad I got to see the faculty in a different setting and really gain an understanding of why they have the authority to teach us.