September 19, 2007

Poetry and Performance, September 15

This was a reading/performance, organized by Denie Whalen of New York Expressive Arts & co-sponsored by the Hudson Valley Writers Guild. The performers were Elizabeth Gordon McKim & Steve Clorfeine. They had conducted a workshop for New York Expressive Arts earlier in the day & their performance was in the Nia-Yoga space on the main floor of 4 Central Ave. It was perfect venue for these performers, an open space with the city through floor-length windows on one side, mirrors on the other, & a bank of plants & ceramics behind them.

The opening piece was a collaboration that evoked (& invoked) the moon, mountains, water, part of which Elizabeth delivered "in tongues" that sounded like some American Indian language. The poets played off lines & movements against each other & it wasn't until the end of the night, in conversation, that I found out it was improvised. It flowed as smoothly as a well-rehearsed set piece. Like great jazz, good performers being sensitive to other's work & responding, transforming, riffing.

The rest of the evening they read from their poems, back & forth. Elizabeth at one point read from her memoir of her time with the great American poet Etheridge Knight.

A good, expressive, poetry evening. It would be good to use this space more.