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.
EMU student Kylie Hoey reviews the EMU Creative Writing faculty’s BathHouse reading that took place earlier this semester:
At the first Bathhouse Reading, faculty from the creative writing program at Eastern read some of their works for us. Christine Hume was the first of the three readers. She read primarily from her published work Shot. All of her poems were accompanied with a soundtrack consisting of sounds, music, and words, both the poem being repeated and words that set the mood of the poem. The poem I remember the most was “Soggy Muff,” based off of a name in a piece written by Dr. Suess. This piece talks about how sleep, death, and laziness are inferior to wakefulness. Hume’s reading was timed well with her background sounds; when the sounds increased in speed and volume, Hume followed suit. She finished her reading with “I Exhume Myself,” a poem that is supposed to be a play on her last name.
Hume was followed by Carla Harryman. She began with “Light Poem,” which seemed to consists only of quickly reciting random words and phrases. This piece reminded me of the play we read in class, “Not I.” Harryman said that she was trying to repeat the style of another writer, but I did not catch the name. She finished her reading with many selections from her book Baby. These pieces got me thinking about what point of view the poems were being narrated from. Some seemed to be describing the world from the point of a human baby, while others could never make sense from that angle. I really enjoyed a quote from one of the last bits she read: “Teenagers are the most mature beings on earth.” This thought makes me laugh inside, but also think in a different way.
The reading was concluded by Rob Halpern, the newest member of the creative writing faculty. He began reading “Love Song to My Fallen Soldier” from his work-in-progress book Music for Porn. The piece made me wonder if the voice was a gay soldier, but I could not decide by the end. Halpern then read from another of his books that mostly focused on intimate longing. The thematic elements of this book seem to focus on war and love. A lot of repetition occurs within the poems and throughout the book. It did not sound as if a lot of the pieces were titled; this reminded me of A Season in Hell by Rimbaud. Overall, the reading was enlightening and exposed me to different kinds of writing.