Writer pairs language with sound for readings

“That class was a revelatory experience for me,” said Hume, who is now a creative writing professor at Eastern Michigan University. “Learning about poetry and how to write it was like learning a new language. It showed me how language can give us access to more nuanced emotional worlds, to ways of thinking and feeling that we might have never experienced otherwise.”

Hume will read from her latest book, “The Saturation Project,” during the next UHV/American Book Review Reading Series presentation at 11 a.m., Oct. 3, in the Alcorn Auditorium inside UHV University West, 3007 N. Ben Wilson St. The event is free and open to the public.

“Christine Hume is a writer who uses language to delve into the experience of being human,” said Jeffrey Di Leo, ABR editor and publisher, and dean of the UHV School of Arts & Sciences. “Her interesting focus on how sound connects with language offers a twist on an already deep perception of life and emotion.”

“The Saturation Project” is a set of three interconnected essays titled “Atalanta: an Anatomy,” “Hum” and “Ventifacts.” Each essay explores elements of girlhood as a physical phenomenon. Collectively, they form an experimental memoir, Hume said.

“In this book, I explore sensory perception, memory, and the myth of self,” Hume said. “This collection examines the body as a thing saturated with experiences and sensations that it cannot contain.”

“Hum,” the piece Hume is planning to read, stems from an experience she had as a child. When she was young, people pointed out to her that she would often hum to herself without being aware of it. Hume then used that image to point out the many ways the world around us hums, from electronics to the noise of city streets to the entire planet. When she reads the essay, Hume pairs it with a musical soundtrack that was written specifically for the piece.

“The audio is a companion piece that is carefully planned,” she said. “I’m entirely compelled by the rich sonic and immersive aspects of listening and am always looking for new ways to draw my audience into the work intimately as well as performatively through sound.”

That interest gave rise to a tactic Hume calls “Critical Karaoke” that she uses when teaching her students to write poetry. Students pick a song that means something to them, then read or talk as the song plays. Some students share research about the song or even sing along.

“It’s a helpful tool for students who are new to poetry,” Hume said. “It takes something that on its own is scary or intimidating and pairs it with something familiar that already has poetic roots. Almost everyone has a deep relationship with some song.”

A Van Jordan, Oct. 24 – Jordan is the author of four collections: “Rise,” which won the PEN/Oakland Josephine Miles Award; “M-A-C-N-O-L-I-A,” which was listed as one of the Best Books of 2005 by The London Times; “Quantum Lyrics” and “The Cineaste.” Jordan has been awarded a Whiting Writers Award, an Anisfield-Wolf Book Award and […]

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