Another EMU student review! This time Daniel Turvey, Jr. reviews Christian Bök’s recent BathHouse reading:
How is it that one describes an event that is so auditory? The stereotypical descriptors of such events seem hardly enough to tell about the experience. I have read the book Eunoia by Bök and as a reader was rather unsettled by the experience. The text was very disorienting and non-linear in fashion. The book emphasizes the use of vowels and each vowel is a chapter which to me seemed an exercise in annoyance rather than the edge of modern literature. Upon completing the book I felt none the better for it and certainly none the wiser. In looking for further enlightenment I attended the Christian Bök reading.
The seats were packed and I sat un-amused waiting for the architect of my annoyance to begin. After a brief introduction Bök took the podium. He then proceeded to baffle the audience with a brilliantly composed and performed piece of sound poetry. At this point, I have written off trying to find deeper meaning within the “vowels” of Eunoia and sat back to listen. Bök then selected a piece from Eunoia to read. In a matter of seconds I realized the point to the book. It’s not so much the use or over-use of a particular vowel but the character of such through a very deliberate and crafted performance. The book I had so much difficulty understanding suddenly became very clear.
Bök emphasizes the unique character traits of each vowel giving them distinct personalities. During the course of his performace he also used various sound pieces to rivet an already captivated audience. The only way I can describe the sound pieces is nothing short of the eighth wonder of the world; simply a marvelous auditory feast and experience to behold.
I feel no reader of Eunoia should even attempt reading the piece without listening to it being performed first. The stumbling blocks will rapidly disappear and the book will make more sense to the first time reader. I feel as though I am a better student and a more appreciative human being for the experience.