Sunday, February 19, 2006

Links reading 2/18

The Daniel Borzutzky Proxy read the latest missive from Istanbul. A poem written on Valentine’s Day. Goats’ buttocks, mushroom caps, butterflies, donkeys are made magnificently celebratory against a sky suggestive of copulation. Makes me very curious about Turkey, and wondering if grilled cheeses, stains on walls ever appear in the shape of Walt Whitman.

In between there were a few readings by younger writers, students at the Art Institute I think, working through narrative and epistolary forms, with slides and objects lending to a staging evocative of Godot, but I must get right ahead to the magnificent Jen Bervin.

Jen read the entirety of A Non-Breaking Space.. the title taken from hypertext markup language, “the only thing I learned in a web design class” she quipped. It’s a gorgeous book—I was eager to touch it afterwards, as it had appeared to me so much more solid, encrusted with pastiche when I read the scanned version on the Ugly Duckling website, but it’s actually a very fragile thing composed of many transparencies. Her voice and presence gave the language a sense of warmth that reminded me of Kaia Sand’s reading a few years back. –side note: Jules Boykoff is in town in a few weeks reading at Myopic, don’t miss— I think the room was full of old friends since she had done a turn through SAIC a while back, so I was lucky enough to be a barnacle on that sense of intimacy. One of the things I love about the Links Hall space is that the el runs literally right next to the building, and the stage area is bordered by a wall of windows which can’t entirely stifle the noise of below's converging Clark-Sheffield-Newport streets. Earlier there had been glorious moments of fire truck vs. Leif Eriksson, wheezing mufflers vs. “my love,” but while Jen had been reading an el train crept next to the building, silently idling in advance of the Addison stop a block away by Wrigley Field. So it was to everyone’s surprise when she read the passage, “I am talking to you the way some people talk to God,” held a slight pause before the next phrase (because her sense of reading is so careful, permitting), when three bright bleeps sounded almost next to her, and after a night of other “mixed media” type of readings, there was a brief moment of wondering whether it was intended. She held for the interruption as it continued, “Your attention, Please. We are being delayed because of track work ahead.”

I thought she might also read from Nets, or something else, but the reading ended with the end of Non-Breaking Space. I wished it were longer. Instead I’ll look forward to the next opportunity to hear her read again. I may have to go to New York. Things could be worse.


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