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About Poetry Off the Page

Taking the Mic emerges out of the five-year “Poetry Off the Page”, directed by Dr. Julia Lajta-Novak (University of Vienna) and supported by an ERC Consolidator Grant and the START-Prize of the Austrian Science Fund (FWF).

Our collaborators include:

A vital field of poetic production, the spoken word in poetry has experienced a noticeable boom for more than half a century. Cultural phenomena such as jazz poetry, Beat poetry, dub poetry, and poetry slam have given rise to thriving performance scenes across the world. The proliferation of new technologies and modes of distribution – via archives, the internet and other digital forms – has made spoken word more accessible than ever before.

This project investigates the significance of poetry performance to recent British literary history, taking account of the aesthetic and political potential of oral performance in conjunction with the alternative institutional structures, publication channels, career pathways, presentational formats, styles, and poetic genres that have emerged from its dynamic performance scenes. Drawing on, and contributing to, the recent digital, we will write a history of British poetry performance. We will also conduct in-depth studies on the intersections of spoken word with literary and performance traditions, on British Black and South Asian spoken word poetry, the British poetry slam, Irish spoken word, and the spoken word play.

For more information, see the Poetry Off the Page website.