Thursday, 8 March 2012
Shearsman at the Swedenborg
To the fetching venue of Swedenborg Hall the other night, just off Bloomsbury Square, for a reading to launch two new Shearsman debut volumes, The Marble Orchard by Sandeep Parmar and Hedge Fund and Other Living Margins by Helen Moore.
Sandeep Parmar acquitted herself well, with nuanced readings of poems vividly seesawing between life-story and history, memory and myth. Her work on the Modernist poets Mina Loy and the Hope Mirrlees of 'Paris' seems to have seeped into her distinctive patterning of phrase and cadence, often layering different linguistic registers to arresting effect.
Helen Moore was a sensitive reader of her own work, giving each syllable and word a rich phonetic voicing. This came across particularly well in the effective dialogic poem 'Hedge Fund' which she performed with her partner, Niall McDevitt. Other poems attempting to address ecological or gender themes came across as less than subtle and eventually one longed for the more 'oblique strategies' preferred by Parmar.