Talk:Performance poetry

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This page needs some capital letters. Also, should there be a cross-reference from "poetry slam" to "slam poetry"?

I'm about to start a major rewrite to the following ends:

  • Give the article a structure
  • Remove most of the slam stuff as an article already exists on Slam poetry
  • Add more on the 20th century history of performance
  • Add material on British performance
  • Distinguish between poetry readings, texts written for performance and texts created during performance

Here's the text before the rewrite:

Performance poetry is poetry that is specifically meant to be seen and heard by an audience,as opposed to being read off a page (or a computer screen). in this sense, performance poetry is a aural phenomenon, first and foremost, and thus more akin to music than to literature.

Since the early 1980s, performance poetry has experienced a tremendous resurgence in the cultures of the United States and across the world.

The first of the modern renaissance of oral-based poetry were the famous "poetry bouts," performances using a boxing metaphor (the Illinois 10-Point Must System of scoring by a panel of 3 judges)created by the poet and writer Al Simmons in the bars of Chicago in 1980-81.

This form of friendly competiton was developed by the organizers of the Taos Poetry Circus as an audience development tool to enlarge the audience for poetry readings. The World Championship Poetry Bout began in 1982 and soon blossomed into an international showcase for poetry with an oral, rather than written, base. The success of the poetry bout performances, playing to audiences of over 1,000 people, brought about the new twist, "poetry slam," by the late '80s. The best of this new breed of poets work from memory, and bring their poetry to life with passionate delivery that can fire up a crowd.

Slam poetry has become one popular form of performance poetry. In a poetry slam, performance poets compete against each other in front of an audience. The poets use their own original work, without any props or musical accompaniment, and are subject to a strict 3-minute time-limit with severe penalties for going overtime (generally half a point for every ten second increment over). Poets are scored by 5 judges, who use a 0.00 to 10.00 scale, with the high and low scores being thrown out.

 In this regard, slam poetry -- and performance poetry in general -- is a populist art-form, far removed from the ivory towers of print-based academic poets. Because of the way the judges are picked, the competition Template:Of bout orslam is more accurately characterized as a "mock" competition. 

Performance poetry has also been boosted considerably by the appearance of def jam -- the hip-hop recording company helmed by Russell Simmons -- on the scene. def jam has created a television show that showcases performance poets that runs on HBO, as well as a show of performance poets that ran on Broadway for almost a year and won a Tony award.

Performance poetry is not a modern phenomenon. It begins with the performance of oral epics in classical times -- necessitated by the difficulty of reproducing written text. All poets of ancient Greece and Rome performed their work before an audience. The art of reading silently was virtually unknown.

The custom was carried forward through the Middle Ages by the troubadours and travelling bards who went from one noble's court or house to another in order to earn their living.

Perhaps the first modern instance in English are lyrical ballads that arose in the Romantic period to tell the story of certain industrial events. Some of these lyrical ballads developed as the 'afterlife' of certain major poets such as Robert Burns and William Wordsworth.

Today, poetry readings are widespread at such events as the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival. In the 1990s, the Favorite Poem project of then U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky gave new visibility to ordinary Americans reading and performing their favorite poems.

Contemporary poets are experimenting today with poetry performances adapted to CD, to video, and to web audiences.

See List of performance poets.

the jan2004 rewrite seems to me -- 
a performance poet for some 18 years now
-- to miss the essence of my art-form,
and introduce much extraneous content.
comments, please?
-bowerbird intelligentleman

removing sentence[edit]

I am removing the following sentence fragment: "however, many would argue that poetry produced under such conditions is not poetry at all but 'academic masturbation'." Without a citation, this is blatant editorializing. Natalie 02:26, 11 February 2007 (UTC)


The article is full of statements that violate WP:WEASEL and none is directly referenced. See WP:REFB for a guide to referencing. The structure is muddled, e.g. It starts the history with 1980s then later has a section on the 1970s. Tyrenius (talk) 04:07, 8 February 2008 (UTC)

Response to your suggestions[edit]

It seems that you have a limited understanding about performance poetry. This definition is wrong: Performance poetry is poetry that is specifically meant to be seen and heard by an audience,as opposed to being read off a page (or a computer screen). in this sense, performance poetry is a aural phenomenon, first and foremost, and thus more akin to music than to literature.

In addition, you are misrepresenting the keen distinctions of the history of oral literature and why it was oral all the way to slam and other offshoots of performance poetry. Please do not edit out the important content to make the article more orderly since the topic will be discussed in an inaccurate way. I will try to look at the article to format it and edit it according to Wikipedia standards, but removing content other than blatant editorializing like the sort you show above will change the accuracy thus value of the article. Accuracy primo (talk) 18:57, 26 June 2011 (UTC)

This article needs serious work - including restructuring and 'Globalization'[edit]

Much like the Spoken Word article, this article is severely lacking. In this case, it has virtually no detail of performance poetry beyond the US or the UK - so I've included a Globalize tag. I know many of us are part of the Anglosphere, but we don't need to be entirely Anglocentric. Perhaps this article should be renamed Performance poetry in the English language and we should stop pretending it's anything broader than that? I also think it's poorly structured: There's a History section, followed by a brief and vague Poetry in oral cultures section, followed by The advent of printing section (is that not more history?), followed by The 20th Century (surely also history?), followed by The 1970s and after (more history?), followed by The United Kingdom (a standalone section for the UK plonked at the end for some reason?). If I find the time I'll get to editing it myself but if anybody else is feeling up to the challenge that'd also be appreciated! (talk) 01:46, 11 January 2016 (UTC)