Previous event: ← Spiral
Next event: A performance of unpredictable duration

The Boy and the Bird

by Emmett Williams

In a dark room lit by eighteen candles on a long table, Emmett Williams performed his ‘building’ poem The Boy and the Bird. The poem developed from variation to variation, from candle to candle, through a series of shifting linguistic relationships and improvisations.

The principal characters are 21 nouns: a boy, a girl, a cat, a mouse, a rooster, a hen, a ghost, a goblin, a friend, a foe, a sweetheart, a lover, a nun, a penguin, a cow, a cowboy, a dwarf, a giant, a soldier, a corpse and a bird. These characters are in flux throughout the course of the poem. From beginning to end, they undergo interrelated metamorphoses as progressions of modifying phrases and parts of speech change the activities and attributes of the ‘dramatis personae’. The transformations are exhaustive, from slapstick through intellectual games to a tragic finale.

Emmett Williams’ reading was quiet and calm leaving the drama to the surreal associations and poetical nonsense of the words.