November 27, 2008

The Other Room


The Other Room on 3rd December I'll be reading with Carol Watts and Scott Thurston.
This may be a surprise if anyone notices, because I virtually never read - as a matter of artistic 'policy'. Putting aside issues of reading as marketing, my writing contains its own investigative imperative that is driven by the need to solve problems of language and space; generally if a problem is solved by the writing itself, I don't see any need to read it to anyone - if someone wants to know whether my solution was viable or useable they read it themselves. In addition, formally my texts tend to use visual resonances, rhythms of layout or word shape, counterpoints of line beginnings and endings which I can't see how you could punctuate vocally without introduction sound accents that are not equivalent. On top of that personally I am dyslexic reading aloud.
I'm buggered if I can think of a good reason why I am reading but I am.
So here is the problem I have: I am going to read poems that should not be read and which I am not able to read!
Therefore, (obviously) I will start with the toughest one to read: Mirror Canon Snips. This was written as an installation on the staircase at the Melbourne DrawingSpace. Originally, as part of the show preview, I envisaged as well as the installation there would be a performative element; two readers one at the top and one at the bottom of the stairs would ascend/descend reading the text, finishing when they had swapped places. As this was in my mind from the start, I found myself asking - is it possible to write something that is so difficult to read that it causes someone walking on stairs to trip and fall over? Starting from a position of not being able to read the poems for all the reasons about, my Other Room reading begin with a poem that aims to make the reader to fall over.
Second, I will read from Reykjavik, (written for the Safn Museum) which if you havent seen it is a single line long line poem in a concertina form - meaning that there are multiple readings/directions in which it can be read. So who knows which one I will find?
After this I will go to some poems from 50 Heads - although it has been read in public, it hasn't been read by me. First I will read Calculus - because there is a huge dyslexic episode on the page at the beginning of it. Then I will go to Entscheidungsproblem - appropriate because it asks the question: "is there some procedure which could solve all problems one after another?" (that is actually the first line) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Entscheidungsproblem . Of course by this point both me and the audience will be losing hope that a solution is possible and so Lassitude will be the next poem. And as I know in advance that I cannot achieve my goal, the final poem will be Underachievement.
The reading can't succeed because it is impossible - therefore it will be a success.

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