Sunday, April 17, 2005

Bei Dao on the art of reading poetry in public.

The last to recite was a French poet. He sighed and talked to himself with a disjointed music made by shards of metal in the background. He took a paper package out of a bag and unwrapped it layer by layer, finally revealing a piece of raw beef and then commenced to roar into the microphone, making a deafening sound. I immediately plugged my ears, but still could sense his clamouring. Several frail older women made an escape, evidently fearing they would go deaf or undergo a stroke. He began to swallow the raw beef and almost choke on it. I began to fear that he might charge over and try to stuff into my mouth the piece of beef that he couldn't get down. His reading ended in hysterical roaring, his whole head covered in sweat and his face mottled like the piece of raw beef. I refused to shake hands with him, since, no matter how deep his message might have been, the noise he made was an invasion of the existence of others.
(translated by Ted Huters and Feng-Ying Ming; Blue House; Zypher Press, 2000)

I wonder who the poet was. I think I'd enjoy the spectacle.


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