EMU student Kylie Hoey reviews Julie Patton’s recent BathHouse reading:
The Bathhouse Reading with Julie Patton was a very unique experience; I don’t think that I will ever experience something like that ever again. Julie Patton concentrates on sound poetry and prefers to improvise during her performance. Patton began standing at the microphone down center stage holding a few pages that she was reading from. She mixed the words and materials in a way that created an entirely new piece.
As the reading went on, however, Patton began to sink to the floor. When she switched from one book to another, she started dropping things so she ended up on her knees. At the ending of the reading, Patton was lying completely on her stomach reading for her piece she titled “Blue.”
Patton’s words were sometimes recognizable, but most of the time it reminded me of sound poetry. She would say one word and then play with the sounds of that word for the next few minutes. Patton also rarely spoke the words; she sang or crooned her poetry instead. This presentation of the poem contributed to the unique experience Patton gave to the listeners.
Before her final piece, Patton pulled obscure musical instruments, and a few conventional ones such as maracas and a tambourine. She then handed these out to different members of the audience and brought them up in a line in front of the stage. They made noise with the given instruments while Patton lapped the stage, moving up and down the platforms. She began to run faster and faster, losing her shoes on the upper platform at one point, screaming. Finally, she lay collapsed, exhausted.