Fiona Templeton: "Medea sings a skin of language"

What: Small Press Traffic hosted a reading by Fiona Templeton

The Setting: The Graduate Writing Studio of the California College of Arts on De Haro in San Francisco. Saturday night, December 18th, 2010. Darkish. Wind-swept. Moody. Japanese maples trembling outside the glass doors in front of which the petite Fiona Templeton stood, in black, her auburn hair pulled back, glasses on her head. Beginning with breathing. The small contemplative pond outside a black sheen. Inside: expectancy.

Thus began The Medead, Templeton's long performance piece about Medea; she called it a recuperation of the many Medeas that exist in literature and history. For example, Fiona noted that she had visited Georgia and that there Medea is associated with medicine. She skipped the reductive infanticide.

"It is a journey of the figure, not a person," Templeton told us. 

How can I tell you about how the room seemed to breathe along with Templeton, how her language split and soared, whispered, squawked, joked. Hers is a Shakespearean inventiveness. Syntax reorganized. Words uncloaked, uncorked and cast out anew, "a winding tongue." 

Here's how Templeton's web site describes The Medead:

*as a very different figure to the evil foreign woman shown by the Greeks, including little-known versions from her origin at the east of the Black Sea.

*Me Dead: a journey down into the language and action of dream and the subconscious.

*Me Dead: not myself.

*Me Dead: the price of war.

*Medea: measure, mother, mindfulness

*Medea: nobody (in the feminine)

*Medea: the genitals.

*The Medead: a night and day, a life, a journey of culture through history.

Some of the many lines that caught my attention, demanded notation follow; any mishearings and misquotations are mine own ears'.  And of course, what line breaks there are here are heard or intuited and will  need correcting once the text can be seen/read.Templeton is going to let xpoetics put up some of The Medead and I am looking forward to it and offering it up to all of you. So, stay-tuned. In the meantime, you can find out more about it on Fiona's web site here: FionaTempleton.

"Medea sings a skin language"

"restored to pieces
hung in trees"

"birds birds birds
the word birds flies around
look at you
look at you"

"singing danger meat"

"prosody arrays what wheat
we have"

"how the nightingale orphaned
of her tongue"

"words come up but
she's taken the genital idea"

"Let's ram away"

"tails spread like a fan of knives"

"whose thicket
whose thicket"

"let go your breath
and aching things"

"choral ardor
coming up from air"

Templeton's reading was one of the highlights of Small Press Traffic's recent season. Check out the forthcoming Spring season here: Small Press Traffic

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