performative turn

A performative turn?

rehearsal for re-enactment of the 2010 "Rethinking Poetics" conference

The nexus of modernist forms of performance/poetics has been around in the West at least since Dada[1], and non-Western and minoritarian poetry communities have cultivated traditions of performance poetry where the body/voice is rarely an afterthought. However, in many of American avant-garde traditions, notions of performativity tend to focus on the poetry reading as the primary site for performative innovation. Of course, given the historical emphasis on the musicality of poetry (sound, meter, aurality, etc.) an emphasis on the poet’s ‘voice’ as the instrument of performance (sounding aloud the music on the page, as it were) is understandable, but occludes other forms of performance and embodiment in relation to poetics.

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