Tuesday, March 21, 2006

More on Peformance Poetry

Poetry slam? Poetry karaoke? A threat to civilised poetry reading as we know it? Some reactions to yesterday's post ... so a little more background.

Here's a defintion of Peformance Poetry from Apples and Snakes (from the notes I brought back from Manila!):
Performance poetry is poetry that has been written specifically to be declaimed in public, as opposed to poetry that really belongs on a page and is simply being read out. The difference is a subtle one: performance poetry may rely more heavily on rhyme, insistent rhythm or a narrative thread. And the poet, too, will be aware that he or she has an audience and will make some concessions to them. For some poets, this means leaping about; for others, a little eye-contact can suffice. Performance poetry, indeed, comes in many forms: some have thoughts to share, whilst others simple want to share their verbal dexterity, or simply entertain. You could argue too that theya re perpetuating the oral tradition which is fundamental to so many cultures.

Performance poetry is important because it makes poetry accessible to people who would otherwise avoid it ... . In that sense, it perhaps makes literature itself more accessible. That's why it can be a useful educational tool. A good performance- poetry show provides a night out that can be thought-provoking, surprising or just fun. It can inspire people ... to start writing and performing themselves. And in a world where most communication is e-communication, it's nice to see (and hear) the human voice taking centre-stage again.
You can get a very good idea of what performance poetry is all about, and the sheer diversity that the term encompasses, by looking at the Apples and Snake's events schedule for the year. Take a look too at the kinds of educational projects the organisation supports. Apples and Snakes has also worked with young offenders with some pretty amazing results.

Of course, the best way to find out what it's is all about will be to catch Francesca Beard's performance when she comes to KL (next month, I believe).


Anonymous said...

Sharon, Let us know when Francesca comes. As an actress, who has been academically declaiming Baudelaire and other French poets (in French), I felt in a straight-jacket most of the time, and could only use my voice and facial expression to convey the emotion of the words.

Anonymous said...

Yeah...I agree totally with the goals of performance poetry, and do concede the orality of 'literature' as its very origins (since that was how it was first transmitted).

Anonymous said...

Sharon, sent you an e-mail, but it bounced. Your mailbox appears to be full. Anyway, I've done the first post already, and hope you like it. Would you like to do next week's post? (I've asked leon as well, so either one of you for next Tuesday/Wednesday)

bibliobibuli said...

dreamr idiot - yes i am having problems with streamyx again

after i got hit by the mad spammer (200-300 emails from one source) i told streamyx to delete all the spammed up archives and they didn't ... hence my mail box is over capacity

you can try the yahoo address instead"


will go see what's there and fine yes, i'll post something next week

just don't expect me to be well behaved okay!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...


Anyway, u have the freedom to do as u please...it's all yours...(anything goes) besides, u r the web mistress. :)

Anonymous said...

and a much better one too (light years ahead of me)

bibliobibuli said...

i looked in and was impressed - you're gonna be a tough act to follow!

Anonymous said...

"Francesca Beard was born in Kuala Lumpur and spent the Seventies growing up in Penang, an idyllic island paradise off the coast of Malaysia. Since then, life has been downhill all the way, but with occasional slow climbs... a bit like mowing a sloping lawn. After a spell in real jobs, she gave it all up to become a fictional character.."

Sounds like the story of my life :)