Interviews

12/08/2013

I Am A Poet by Mithu Sen


I'm not a poet. I have a complicated relationship with poetry. I want to love it, and I certainly do - but I can only really stomach bitter and angry poets like Larkin and Plath, as if the very form of floaty abstract sentimental thought needs a horrid subject matter to make it palatable. Which might explain why I enjoyed and was drawn to Mithu Sen's poetry, one devoid - or full - of content. She's created a book of supposed nonsense text, a made up calligraphy, which she invites participants to 'read' as they see fit, recording into a microphone. At first I was stunted by my very British reserve, but after ten minutes of listening to Mithu's calming, coaxing voice, I felt compelled to press record and attempt to speak outloud one of the poems. I surprised myself by how convincing I sounded, my voice went quite deep like I was singing, and I made lots of germanic harsh k's and g's, lots of 'sch'es. And instinctively I read the text from right to left as if I was reading Hebrew, one of the only non-Latin Alphabets I have a vague grasp of. I hope she likes it.

I Am A Poet by Mithu Sen is part of Word. Sound. Power on a Tate Modern's Project Space.