Belated report on Drew Milne's reading
Tuesday 18th May
Centre for Creative Collaboration, Acton Street WC1
Milne read from three groups of texts, the first being architectural in both layout on the page, and in content (i.e. they were 'about' architecture) and which appeared to be constructed from other texts. He preceded the reading by playing a recording of well-known architects discussing their work; the recording was spliced to make a sort of audio-collage. This was very effective, and set the tone for the rest of the performance (which is what it was, rather than a 'reading'): no lyric 'I' in sight, constructed texts and a reader who sat throughout and dispensed with anecdotes and small talk. The effect was very different to most poetry readings I attend, which are usually conventional, and in which the poet is expected to put his or her personality on show. With Milne, you were given a sense of poetry as a medium made from existing materials, and as something which is an "addition to the world" (to quote WS Graham) rather than a comment on it or a story about it. It struck me that Cambridge-style poetry like Milne's, or J.H. Prynne's would be better appreciated by most people as a performance-text, rather than something you would sit down and read in the conventional sense.