Sørina Higgins’ poetry reading the Saturday before last opened in an atmospherically lit, slightly over-warm wooden theater, with Sørina reading cluster of dim poems ”on doubts, questions, and how to understand nature.” (to use Mrs. Higgins’ words.) Among deep green stage plants, silhouetted against a white drop, the dark eyed poet lead her audience through fascinating, lovely, and often esoteric scenery of nature and the mind. Sørina’s student, Nick Jarratt, set one philosophical poem to music that followed the rising and falling poetry of her villanelle, “The Stratigraphy of Sleep.”
After an intermission, Sørina resumed her readings with a more contemporary tint, with poems that traced horrid pains hidden in the lives of students she knows. Photos by Gemalee Anne Ugi heightened these poems’ poignant relevance with combined contemporary understanding of the painfully, stained existence they witness around them. However, this look at the “real world” served to show how the pain of living is part of existence. These poems drew from two planes of existence; the secret, hopeless existence of pain and meaninglessness which runs counter to, yet along with a deeper plane of meaning and reality which is beyond our full comprehension. Music by Cassandra Caracci and Andrew Rittenhouse gave a new dimension to the mythological and transcendental writings. The pain of living naturally flowed back into the existence of the reality—Joy.
Full-bodied, fulfilling textured words danced or processed to build images of the world as it exists but which is greater than our sight or full understanding. The final section of poetry explored more overtly theological themes. For a grand finale, Sørina read a free-verse series entitled “The Voice of God,” to the accompaniment of pictures taken in Alaska, Ireland, Egypt, Jordan and Israel.
This grand finale left us audience members wishing for more, so, Sørina’s students (and a few others) participated in an open mic session. Her student’s poured out secret pains in poems and music on the same themes Sørina treated in the middle section of her reading.
In all, the evening was full of textures and sights of the tangibly real mixed with the ineffable. It was beautifully atmospheric, especially scented as it was with atmospheres of worlds unknown. As Sørina commented, it can be fun to just listen to the words of her poems. The sounds of the words, even divorced from their meanings, filled the listener’s imagination as they filled the
ear. This poetry reading made me very glad to know that soon I will be able to own Sørina’s book, and thus hold these deep expressions of thought to read and share whenever elven horns call....
Please consider purchasing Sørina’s poetry book, The Significance of Swans, at Finishing Line Press. Click on the "new releases and forthcoming titles" link and scroll down the alphabetical list. Your copy will be shipped to you on 8 August 2008.