Jaime Birch – review of The Other Room 11

Thanks are due to Jaime Birch for reviewing last weeks reading with Michael Haslam and Craig Dworkin:

The 11th reading in The Other Room series was just super – one of my favourites, I think. Craig Dworkin, the first reader, couldn’t be with us in the flesh, and so he’d had himself recorded, reading three pieces of his work. We were shown this film of his during the first part of the evening via a projector. It was great. The video is posted on the site’s home page and, enjoyable as it is to watch on the computer, it was better on the night, on the big screen. We felt like Craig was with us somehow. We gave him a round of applause when he’d finished. If you weren’t there, you should have been. It was very cool and jazzy. It was, for me, all about wry, funky translations of existing texts. Craig said it was ‘conceptual’. It was good fun.

Michael Haslam read next and he too was really good. His poetry seemed more warm and humane than some of the more fragmented, ‘experimental’ stuff that you often find at The Other Room. His poems seemed to have clearer narratives and characters. And he read with gusto; a real celebration of the spoken and written word.

Before he started to read, Michael talked a little bit about how he didn’t really feel like an experimental poet – ‘It may not be clear why I should be (if I am) linked with avantgardists and experimenters. The answer is, historical accident, or, like finding a place to live—having found a loose net of congenial spiritual company, I see no good reason to forgo it.’ (quoted from the internet, not the reading). On the actual night of the reading he said something about all poems being an experiment. I agree with him – the term ‘experimental’ is problematic for me too.
I liked his style. I would’ve bought one of his books had I not been broke as a joke.

So yes, the evening was brill. You, yes You, must come to the next one. Oh yeah, one more thing – poetry readings can sometimes be quite intimidating to walk into on you own can’t they? (yes) Well not at The Other Room! – I’m a girl, from Bolton, and I went there by myself. I was warmly welcomed, to be sure. There were quite a few young ladies there actually; more than usual. Anyway – Come to the next reading and join in the fun, I expect it will be bob on.

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