November 18, 2009

Hume & Clark visit Notre Dame

Christine Hume and Jeff Clark came to the graduate poetry workshop today (before their reading at the Hammes Bookstore). It was surprising to find out that Jeff didn't currently care very much about experimental poetry - I mean, the covers he designs fit the skull of experimental books exquisitely, right? While Christine - though leaning much more towards sound - seemed much more open. I was flummoxed by how they negotiated their differences. Isn't poetics, after all, just like politics? I can't imagine being in a serious relationship with someone whose opinions are so dissimilar to mine. But I guess this is me -

Then their reading:

Christine's performance of Lullaby was fascinating. I loved how the audio track's voice/echoes (not heard on the original CD accompanying the chapbook) picked up and completed the voice of the live reading - the overlaps and the alternations, which made the audience aware of the polyvocalic depth of the text and also gave a sense of transmission, both of word and of sound. From the performer's body to the CD, from the CD to the performer's body, and back, and to the listening audience - both language and rhythm bacterial!

Yet I found myself wishing that the music, and the reading, have more energy, more contours - less lullaby-ness. These seemed to catch insufficiently the rich sonic consciousness of the text. But perhaps Hume, being a consummate thinker about sound, wanted to deliberately fail the audience. Dash our expectations and take us to a new place.

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