The Sound of Breath @ the EIBF

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The Studio Theatre @ the EIBF

002_Sally_Beamish.jpgThe ‘Sound of Breath’ hour I recently experienced at the EIBF was essentially about the pause – sometimes percussive, sometimes silent – that moment in poetry & music which breaks the mood & elevates the spiritual awareness of the voyeur. Chaired by David Fuller, we would spend a wonderful & informative hour with composer Sally Beamish, & poet Michael Symmons Roberts, ‘two distinguished practitioners‘ of their craft as Fuller gleefully told us. Indeed, both are quite polymathic, with novels & concertos & the such like bounding about their brains, we – & the subject – were definitely in capable hands.

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What followed was an informative tour of each other’s backstories, where moments of the breath’s effect on composition were most noticeable. Beamish recalled an anonymous Tuscan text which inspired a lullaby she had composed, whole Roberts described, with much animation, the lungs & larynx of Byron being preserved in Missolonghi. Symmons also chipped into the ongoing argument which says that spoken poetry is best only on the lips of the original poet, by denying this & declaring ‘some poets are terrible readers of their own work.’ Beamish agreed, & explained that writing poetry is rather like composing a score, & different levels of performer may bring the music to life. All in all, I witnessed a fascinating artistic conversation between two proud & passionate protagonists of their individual art, who descried that it is better that we all learn to breathe together.


Reviewer : Damo

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