Saturday, October 24, 2015
Fred Moten at the Or Gallery (Part One)
to have been there last night, to put it passively, and to describe it without what Fred would call "information"
"to be poetry," as opposed to writing poetry, or "being a poet," says Fred
(or notes, in my case, without having taken any)
arriving earliest to a Jonathanless Or, Eli behind the desk again, with Kate, and The Capilano Review's Andrea, who, with SFU's sometimes comically dudely English Department, sponsored the event: a reading by Fred in its retail section
which fills up quickly, so more chairs added, Andrea in her black dress, lifting them over us, Kate helping
until Phanuel's wingéd introduction, and Fred proceeding slowly, rolly, two hundred words into it and everything sounding aw shucks
speaking of what he will read -- "new work" -- a three part project with a beginning he describes but will not attempt, a middle drawn from his time as a sessional at Bard College, which he does, and then something from the third part, he says
of this middle work, based on the upset he saw at Bard, whose crits have the entire school asking questions of the artist and his or her work, Fred seeing a violence in this, him asking why can't I just say I like it if I like it
poems whose titles are the names of those who stood there and took it, poems derived from notes Fred took while listening to the artists present their work and those who asked questions of them (I have seen a Bard crit and Fred neglects to mention that the artist cannot respond until the end of it)
(so we get Fred's crit, but later, in places like Vancouver, and in poems, like those he reads to us)
and this goes on for a decent amount of time, until Fred stops and, as it is at Bard, the room is given over to "discussion," and the first thing you hear is that pause, like the snare shot (gun shot) that opens the Doors' "Light My Fire"
"Where you from?" someone asks, and I swear I am not the only one in the room who cannot tell who said it