Who: Sharon Zetter & Christine Hume
What: Studio One Reading
Where: Studio One Art Center, 365 45th St., Oakland, CA
When: Friday, June 3, 2011 (doors always open 7pm ; reading 7:30pm)
Review written by Jared Alford, Omnidawn’s Facebook Editor
This Studio One reading, both the last of the Spring and the first of the Fall, features Sharon Zetter and Christine Hume. Host Clay Banes opens with an apologetic and jesting tribute to the 90th anniversary of the Communist Party of China’s founding, which will exempt the Studio One event we might hope for come Friday, July 1st, meaning the next won’t be until August 5th, feat. Laura Sims and Claudia Keelan.
But, presently, Sharon Zetter—one of Studio One Art Center’s own employees, a co-founder of The Dacha Project, an off-grid educational homestead dedicated to creating sustainable living practices for working artists, located outside of Ithaca, New York, and a 2009 MFA graduate of St. Mary’s College of California—reads her smattering of poems concerning “How what is, and what is not” (“Gesture”). “Ruins, stains, artifacts, abandoned dystopia,” “a young man grafted terrain,” and all manner of leftovers from the “slaughter of the older culture,” span the bleak horizon issuing from her deliberate monotone.
Then Christine Hume—author of three books of poetry, most recently Shot (Counterpath, 2010), and a Coordinator of the interdisciplinary Creative Writing Program at Eastern Michigan University—prepares her counterpart, a series of diversely styled recordings, each accompanying its own poem, while explaining how Dr. Seuss’ “Soggy Muff” line from the Too Many Daves story influences her writing, here ultimately an effort to pose sleep as “a liberation through inaction,” allowing her to set stake in “ontological fatigue” (Studio One interview). She hazards each poem against the recordings, producing an often polyvocal resonance without harmony or symmetry, perhaps instead with “an incompetence built into language, a verbal uncertainty that threatens… fluency,” as though she were “Self-Stalked“ with eerie lullabies, or exhuming herself with the rote participles of her husband-poet Jeff Clark’s “creeping going scratching.”
I looked in all eight directions then spread out my tiger’s skin. Before the public mind kicked in, I surveyed an inner shore. Its facets operated on me. I lost my lights and began my midnight thus: mental feet, mental lake, little mental pines, mental mile around the muzzle. I aimed my automatic at that outlandish organ hanging in the sky like a dazed stone. Its sea expression wet the evening; I captained the tempest there. Looking too long into the distant human pupil, I sharpened my harpoon. But my hands could not be organized. I wanted to tightrope up there on a mental binge. I reached for my quiver, my bird descended a failure one depth below time. The moment rotated, aggravated. Its color was extreme. In a heavy steel helmet, I matched that orb and tried to tackle it by a million mental muscles. The more I beat it, the more I couldn’t see it. If I could turn it open like a glass knob, feel my way into its diamond cave. If I could tongue out its creamy mouth. If I could tickle it and bounce it on my knee. If I could dress it up. If it would fist me, if I could force it. The more I battered that moon, the more I could be it.
and shipped to a new address: strange,
We forget where thought originates
after asking the question:
have we come to the lacuna?
We are unclear if we are which persons.
If a woman pares the lamb
can we be both alive and immortal?
Another re-birth for the holy.
Trace me to the vespers:
who you are and what you have seen.
Or imagine a table where barrels hang.
How the potential is
an arrival: every-angle.
If a man affix glass to stem:
any face can be a mirror.
Lean in closer—
I have something to speak
which requires your knees.
Our plans are with each other,
so we sit for the train.
blur: a rub of cold.
Your hand shadows the kitchen,
a circle of human pain.
A meadow undoes the wait.
Here: slaughter of the older culture.
Can paralysis be defeated?
Or is an Other no longer valid
or comforting in this moment.
Why wonder: what lights
can be seen by the eye
that are not moving?