Given the increasing popularity of literary festivals, open mics, and poetry slams, one could justifiably claim that the English-speaking world is currently experiencing a ‘Live Poetry’ boom. Yet, despite this raised awareness for the aesthetic and social potential of performed poetry, academia has barely responded, failing in the process to update and adapt its concept of poetry to meet these recent developments.
Bridging this critical gap, this volume provides for the first time a full methodological ‘toolkit’ for the analysis of live poetry by drawing together approaches from diverse disciplines concerned with speech and forms of cultural performance. Most notably, these include literary studies, paralinguistics, musicology, kinesics, theatre and performance studies, and folklore studies.
This innovative methodology is demonstrated through sample analyses based on a mixed corpus of audio and video recordings of poetry performances, as well as on personal interviews with practitioners of live poetry. Of value to the scholar and poetry enthusiast alike, this volume presents an indispensable guide for anyone interested in understanding and analysing poetry’s evolution through its current ‘spoken word’ renaissance.
"Novak provides the motivation and means for fresh engagement not only with a neglected ‘live literature scene’, but also with the vocal practices of a far wider range of poets." – Samuel Rogers, Bangor, in: Modern Language Review 109.3 (2014), pp. 794-5
"…a detailed and precise methodology to understanding and interpreting live poetry … The clarity and structure of Novak’s dissertation are impressive given the small body of previous research and the interdisciplinarity of the subject matter. This systematic approach is unprecedented in the field of literary studies. As such, it is an overdue contribution to literary research in general and to the field of Spoken Word and Live Literature in particular." – Minu Hedayati-Aliabadi, in: Anglia 131 (2013)
"This is an important intervention in an emerging critical field. It offers a refreshing perspective on a neglected aspect of poetry and makes one reflect on page-focused models of poetry criticism." – David Kennedy, in: stridemagazine.co.uk (August 2012)
"In summary, Julia Novak correctly identifies a lack of analysis - of understanding – of this phenomenon, and her book goes some considerable way towards bridging the gap, and helping live poetry towards a coming of age. Anyone interested in the future of live poetry should read this book." – in: writeoutloud.net (13th May 2012)
Theorising Live Poetry
Key Challenges for the Scholar of Live Poetry
Towards a Definition of Live Poetry
Analysing Live Poetry
Comparing the Written Poem and the Performed Poem
Contextualising the Performance
Jackie Hagan’s “Coffee or Tea?”: A Sample Analysis
Checklist for the Analysis of Live Poetry Performances
Table of Figures