cris cheek

Twentieth anniversary celebration of the EPC: Audio recordings from PennSound

Willis, cheek, Kim, Retallack, Snelson, Vicuna, Glazier, Bernstein

Charles Bernstein, cris cheek, Tony Conrad, Loss Pequeño Glazier, Steve McCaffery, Myung Mi Kim,  Joan Retallack, Laura Shackelford, Danny Snelson,  Elizabeth Willis, & Wooden Cities with Ethan Hayden. 

What is performance writing?

Before attempting to make judgments of specific works outside of any critical framework, what might we mean by performance poetics/poetry/writing? I use the term ‘performance writing’ here to try to generally indicate forms of experimental writing that work with/in/out of performance, and to distinguish such forms from an emphasis on ‘performance poetry’ (slam, spoken word, etc.) or performance art practices that are not driven by non-narrative and/or avant-garde poetics. As we shall see, the term (as far as I know) comes from the UK (where it has become institutionalized, if still purposefully under-defined), where various practitioners have helped formulate some of the questions and fields that inform a lot of my thinking here.

(Big Caveat #2: I am NOT interested in clean definitions or drawing lines between what is and is not performance writing/poetics. However, I do think that provisional semi-pseudo-categories might at least be useful in helping tease out helpful distinctions that different practices bring to the work of poetry in the field of performance [and vise versa]. Hopefully such questions can help elucidate what might be new/compelling/‘useful’ for writers and critics, at least…)

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