Friday, January 26, 2007

Evelyn Reilly and Gregg Biglieri at The Poetry Project

January 22, 2007

Evelyn Reilly

Evelyn opened her reading quoting Queequeg, "We cannibals must help these christians." Pointing toward the consumption of flesh in a tone suggesting its superiority and rationality, attributes to it welcoming finality in her exploration of the ecopoetical. This consumption continued into her first piece, reading, "the word was the part of the body that could change." She articulated both of those lines, savoring the morsels as she spoke them, caring about them as she committed them to voice. Each sound she struck created a gentle nudging to the "bodies body", to the ideas and the thoughts its imaged produced, and those that emanated from them.

As she wound the long lines out she stretched them like taffy, pulling ideas and lines in fluid, flowing snaps like the taffy-man at a fair whipping a long snake of cooling sugar to kneading it to the correct shape and consistency. She thickens the mouthful of these flailing tendrils with her repetition, slapping the strands of similarity together into mass yielding the singular product, "the body was part of the world that the word changed."

With "Broken Waters" Evelyn presented ecopoetics as stirring a pool translating language, idea, context, and thought. She stirred only the surface, here, gliding over the phrases to channel the listener's consciousness toward the meniscus of what she is doing, creating awareness of tension and the depths to which the over-arching structures were driving the concepts by pressing on the surface like a water-bug, and sharing it's condition, it's amnioticity.

Gregg Biglieri

Aliens, elfs, heart monitors, and infarctions are the terra-forming inhabitants of Gregg's reading, and the implications of a world made up solely of genuine absurdity and dismissing cynicism prompt him I would imagine to open most of his readings the way he did, saying, "I'll try to be funny." I respect that simply because I am always trying to be funny and I still haven't managed it. Gregg handles the condition, in the medical sense, of existence and makes it work well with a modulated, genial deadpan tone.

His voice lets the suddenness and motion of the ideas, images, and words happen in a their own arena, like coverage of the Olympics of Thought produced by an avant-garde film-maker, where you see each event in part, always at that moment to which is given weight by its revelation. Every moment is running, sometimes violently, toward you, and it is then cut away to another near collision. The unsettling feeling is not knowing what would have happened had you been left there. Gregg pauses, diligently, giving you the feeling of slowly being removed from the ground and put back down. He places the past and the future before you on a platter covered in velvet cloth, and just when whatever is beneath the cloth moves he pulls the whole ordeal away.

A sample of Gregg's work.

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