Reading with the Master


6.13 mins, video
Shown at On the Shelf, Slade/UCL

This is a literal fusion of word and image. Ironically entitled: Reading with the Master, focuses on the shapes made by the mouth when the poetry is spoken and refers to Billie Whitelaw’s 1973 performance of Not I by Samuel Beckett.

Trying to read simultaneously and synchronise the cadence of the poetry,draws attention to T.S.Eliot’s original vinyl recording. His characteristic voice and method of delivery is the backbone of the piece. The inversion of the mouth in the second poem provokes the viewer into readjusting their perception of the image and concentrate on the expressive changing form of the mouth. 
The onomatopoeic rhythms in the last section, Cape Ann, in Landscapes, evokes the flight patterns of the different birds Eliot saw when he was boy on holiday in Gloucester, Massachusetts.

I first heard the recording in the 1970s (before the invention of CDs), and was always struck by how posh and British Eliot sounded, despite the fact that he was born in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA. and how marvellous it was to hear ‘His Master’s Voice’ on record.

I wanted to use lesser known poems, and ‘reinstate’ Cape Ann, as Ezra Pound had edited out seventy-one lines about that coastline from The Wasteland manuscript. It is a place I know and love to visit.

The Wasteland/and other Poems, read by T.S.Eliot
© 1971 Caedmon Records.

Morning at the Window

La Figlia Che Piange