Ashleigh Smith reviews CRTW Capstone reading

EMU student Ashleigh Smith reviews the Creative Writing Department’s Fall 2010 Capstone reading:

I thought the Creative Writing department’s student reading was really interesting. It’s always fun to see and hear what my peers are doing. One of the performances that really stood out to me was Tim’s video. I was really blown away by his singing (I think he was singing) and the rich language of the lyrics he’d written. I thought the combination of old and new images was spectacular. I have to admit, when he was giving an introduction to his piece I rolled my eyes at the thought of family photos from a cottage and some songs he had written himself. I ended up really enjoying Tim’s work and would be excited to see and hear more.

Another student read the ending section of a short story she wrote about her experience as a graduating senior. I thought the story was very touching and suspenseful. I was left wondering if the story was true, based on a true story, or just fiction. I thought her writing was very clear and thoughtful. I especially liked the way she put together the dialogue. I also really liked Stacy’s poetry which was inspired by the mixed media class I was in with her. I the poems she read were really thoughtful and creative. I thought her use of the juxtaposition nature and industry was really intriguing.

The gallery setting was perfect for a reading like this, except when it came to audio visual elements. I’d heard about Mike’s audio piece earlier in the week and really didn’t know what to expect. After a lot of fiddling around with his equipment he ended up giving a pretty cool snippet of his performance. I thought his concept was really interesting and innovative. Using language to make a rhythm is something people usually attribute rap music with but I thought this was a pretty cool spin on it. I wish the technical aspect of the performance would’ve worked out the way it was supposed to, but I commend him on giving it 100%!

Ashleigh Smith reviews CRTW Faculty BathHouse Reading

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.