by Johannes Goransson on Dec.30, 2012
I Am A Medium
By Geoffrey Cruickshank-Hagenbuckle
Robert Fitterman & Vanessa Place real live at Ugly Duckling Cellar Series, 12/15/12,NYC.podcast (http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/ugly-duckling-presse/id467482083)
Recently crowned the “Harbinger of death for the poetic art” Vanessa Place evanesced w/Robert Fitterman on the occasion of Ugly Duckling’s 2nd printing of their Notes on Conceptualisms (2009. Sold out!), reading from that, and from new work, at UDP’s Fort Apache, the Old American Can Co. in bruiser Brooklyn’s wastes.
Place, meticulous mistreated hair, replete with eyebrow (f)iercings, wore one form-fitting ashen shroud. RF clad in a cotton suit elected leather sneaks. She, theatrically subdued, he “naturalistic.” This was staging with a passion, killer conscious, well contained.
Boss showmanship embraced both humanity and laffs. See Q&A where VP wheedles like one Wicked Witch, “Here kitty, kitty”, relentlessly pursuing pleasure till all pleasure is gone.
Conceptual writing as a field shakes out in regrettable blots, Pointillisme, counting precious few true finds. [Spoiler Warning: This report may prove lop-sided but hey! I am the jury. Thank you Mr. Spillane.] Among which Vanessa Place shines.
Provocation: RF read excerpts from Notes on Conceptualisms. Fleshing out its concept with a re-up that delights, VP followed strictly with the same. *
“Radical mimesis is original sin.”
“Failure is the goal of conceptual writing.”
Evocation/Invocation: Next each read new work, for which I commend all to the Podcast. But as what might not be discernible from that Podcast alone is the anti-nature of VP’s “channeling” apparatus, explication fuels my drive.
Throughput. Place read a number of poems by celebrated poets, some of whom she (voice) impersonated. As she stood, typed pages fell like winter leaves. She also wore a headset. She heard the poets read to her as she read “them” to us. Merrill, Sexton, Plath. We heard only Place, her rigor such that I caught the stage direction “cough” typed on one floor bound page.
Chilling. I was wowed. Legerdemain.
So I do not obtrude myself too much upon myself, or on you mon semblable, I often attend poetry events w/ the unexposed. Thus to get a clean take: their personally objective opinion. I withhold tonight’s companion’s name for reasons that stand clear. Qualifications? She had never been to any poetry reading. Though we all know her work. She designed New York’s yellow cabs.
With her, Fitterman’s theory got no traction yet she liked his poem. While, having just caught her now ex boyfriend cheating then punched him so hard she herself required a doctor, my friend’s response to Vanessa was ineffable.
* Including his misspeaks.