Seattle: Multi-Genre Furnace Reading Preview

Seattle’s Furnace Reading Series returns with its third installment on January 16 at 6 p.m. in the Hollow Earth Radio performance space at 2018 E. Union Street. The performance live-stream can be accessed at the station’s site.

Writer and artist Rae Diamond will perform her essay “Three Songs,” accompanied by vocalist Jessika Kenney.

A preview of Diamond’s piece is available at The Furnace’s website.

In advance of next week’s performance, I exchanged emails with Corinne Manning, who co-runs the Furnace series with Anca Szilagyi.

BC: Seattle is currently blessed with a breadth of interdisciplinary literary events (Bushwick Book Club, Breadline, assorted Lit crawls, and many other reading series). How do you see the Furnace Readings Series fitting into this landscape?

CM: The thing I love about the events you mentioned is that there is a vividness that gets added to the typical reading. And I suppose what I mean by that is the work gets this opportunity to come alive in new ways. With the Furnace, there’s something really remarkable when there is only one reader and you know that you are hearing the whole piece, not the abridged version, and then you can hold the book of the piece that’s being read in your hands and also know that there are other people listening in who aren’t even in the room makes it all pop in 3D. In Anca’s piece (from the first Furnace reading), the footnotes in her story get read by Kristin Young and the experience of hearing that story out loud with the footnotes made a technique that I sometimes find inaccessible in print, not only accessible, but really beautiful.

BC: So far, you’ve featured Anca’s fiction piece, Buffy Aakaash’s play, and up next is Rae Diamond’s essay “Three Songs.” Do you have any thoughts about what happens, whether intentional or unexpected, to these genres once they are given the Furnace treatment?

CM: (I like that—”The Furnace treatment.”) Anca and I have been really struck by how inspired the writers become when they can come up with innovative ways to really express their piece. Buffy crossed genre lines by adapting his stage play to radio, while still presenting it visually as a stage play for the people who were present in the audience. I’m really excited about what Rae Diamond’s collaboration with Jessika Kenney will do for her essay, which is about a musician’s experience of sound. Once she found out she was doing The Furnace, she composed the piece to be read by two people so that words or lines would be read as a chord, and she plans to use different vocal techniques like voice throwing and hocketing. The idea is that the auditory experience of the piece will create another layer to the original intention and meaning of the essay. It’s like the lyric essay on a study drug.

BC: How did you come to collaborate with Hollow Earth Radio? And what’s the importance of including the live stream as an aspect of the performance?

CM: Hollow Earth Radio is such an incredible organization—Levi Fuller was a big help in getting the whole thing arranged. The Furnace airs during Morgan’s Martini Hour, hosted by Morgan Dusatko, and his show is all non-music content. Morgan is a really brilliant filmmaker and documentarian, and it has been really fun to collaborate with him and share time on his show. Hollow Earth is consistently blending that space of live-streaming and performance. The first time I went to that space was to see Tiny Vipers play and it was really cool to see this totally talented and lovely performer sitting underneath that lit-up “on air” sign and to know that there were other people listening in from all over.


Bill Carty