Brandon Gorley reviews Christian Bök and CRTW faculty BathHouse readings

EMU student Brandon Gorley offers a pair of reviews, the first on Christian Bök’s recent BathHouse reading:

Every writer needs to experiment every once in a while, but I think Christian Bok must be an over-achiever – I don’t think he’s ever stopped experimenting. Having read Eunoia and a few of his other works before the show, I knew what he was talking about, but I imagine anyone walking into the show uninitiated would be pretty lost. Hearing Bok perform is a truly unique experience. First off, he performs with his entire body. He’s literally moved by his own words. I wish I could get that into my own work. Also, he has the most gorgeous pronunciation I’ve ever heard (though I guess he’d have to in order to even read his poetry). The OCD-level attention to language is also admirable. Oftentimes I’ll type with a thesaurus in my lap and I can’t come anywhere near his variety. I can’t recall the last time I wanted to look up so many words. Even if you can’t take anything else from a Christian Bok show (and you should be able to), you’re literary curiosity will be piqued. 

Next, Gorley reviews the Creative Writing faculty BathHouse reading that took place in September: 

I’ve been attending college in the creative writing program for several years, but it isn’t often that I’ve been given the opportunity to hear the work of my professors. Needless to say, it was an interesting experience. I’d had classes with Christine Hume before, but we always studied the work of others. Her language was evocative and attention-grabbing, with an easy, rolling, almost sleepy tone. The listen/talk section in particular was very good. I found a connection to her work, seeing it almost a defense of laziness, certainly something that I can identify with. Also fun was the recording of another writer (sorry, I didn’t write his name down) reading her poetry. It’s always an interesting experience to hear someone else’s take on your work. The long, lolling “Lullaby” section seemed quite appropriate to the piece.

I’ve had classes with Carla Harryman, but unfortunately didn’t find her reading that moving. Nothing really caught my attention, as evidenced by my notes consisting of half a word (crossed out) and nothing else.

As the new teacher on campus, I’ve never had Rob Halpern, so it was interesting to get a look at his work. His language definitely caught my attention, an uninterrupted series of interruptions. “Shit-in-my-mouth world” and “my dreamy fuck” are terms that stick with you. I definitely wouldn’t mind taking a class with him.