07 August 2006

documenting perfpo

Russell Salamon sent me this & I'm passing it on:

I am a writer and performer and am pursuing my PhD in theatre at the University of Minnesota. My dissertation is going to be on spoken word, politics and the literary avant garde and I'm beginning to do preliminary research. I've joined quite a few spoken word lists to keep up with what's going on around the country. I'm writing to the list to ask for two forms of participation.

1. Thus far, the history of spoken word and performed poetry is very lopsided toward New York and Chicago. My own "official" history for my dissertation may also lean on those two cities, but as part of my research I would like to build an archive that includes histories from around the country and want to acknowledge that there have been active communities in other places for quite some time. I would like to invite you, singularly or as a group, to send me a history of spoken word in your community as far back as you can go. This means venues, years, who did what when, and some kind of flavor of the performances. When did slams start? Did that change the nature of the reading/performing community? Did it create one where there was not much before or something dormant? What kinds of performance, experimentations, collaborations, etc. where going on? What other influences were there (theatre, rock and roll, punk, dance, Dada, roller derby, skeet shooting, etc.)? I'm looking for communal histories rather than anyone's personal stories, except insofar as those stories are woven into the community.

2. I'm looking for people interested in doing an online interview with me, possibly through IM conversations or a Yahoogroups chatroom. This is your chance to tell YOUR individual story, aesthetic,

Please write me at fluffysingler@earthlink.net for either. There's no huge hurry with the histories--take your time and tell it completely. But I would appreciate hearing from people that are intending to embark on this. And credit will be given to the writers of the histories--both in the archive, and in anything that I cite.


Laura Winton

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