Friday, June 15, 2012

Carrie Etter at the Flying Goose

I published Carrie Etter's pamphlet 'Yet' five years ago, but last night at the Flying Goose was the first time we'd met, and I can say it was a great pleasure. Carrie's reading was revelatory, and, for me, it added an extra dimension to the poetry. The work in her Shearsman collection 'Divining for Starters' has elements of abstraction, and the title sequence, which investigates our cultural predilection for defining new beginnings, is full of false starts and broken sentences, and of snatches of language left unfinished. But there's also a strong sensual element to Etter's poetry, most evident in the remarkable 'Erotics' section. What last night's reading did for me, was to add a sense of place and a sense of the personal to these elements, and to foreground the musicality of the words (yes, I do believe poetry has a musical element, and that the sound of the words is very much part of its effect). Carrie has a  strong mid-western accent, and we had a conversation afterwards about how, because I had an English 'internal reader', hearing the words in her own accent subtly changed my reception of them. This, added to her brief introductions, placing the poems in a context of growing up in Illinois, and of her relationship with her late father, grounded the work in a way that silent reading couldn't completely do. The reading ended with a number of poems from her pamphlet, 'The Son', about her experience of giving up a son for adoption; I've reviewed this powerful sequence on Litterbug, so I won't add more, except to say that several audience members, including myself, found the reading a moving experience.

1 comment:

Pippa Hennessy said...

Agreed, it was a wonderful reading. And Carrie is a lovely person!