The role of the poet : poetry performance at the beginning of the twenty-first century

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Title: The role of the poet : poetry performance at the beginning of the twenty-first century
Author: Jones-Dilworth, Mary Elizabeth, 1980-
Abstract: This dissertation examines poets’ public performances in order to understand the social role of the poet in contemporary America . In the twenty -first century , poetry is increasingly disseminated through live events and digital media , and a rising number of people publicly share their poems . These changes present challenges for authors looking to attain credibility in the eyes of critics and audiences . The Role of the Poet examines how four poets perform their differences from non -authors , and thus form relationships with their audiences . In constructing roles for themselves , poets also make claims about the ontology of poems—whether they are primarily written , oral , or performative works of art . Each chapter focuses on an individual poet’s strategies for performing the role of the poet , and by extension , constructing the role of the audience . The chapters examine the ways poets define poetry ; they include discussions of poetry’s ontology and how public poetry performances affect the artform . Performances of authorship are shaped through the vehicles of poets’ writings , poetry readings , interviews , teaching methods , and public programs . Chapter 2 examines Robert Pinsky’s performance of authorship as authority , relating that performance to Pinsky’s canonical ambitions and his affirmation that poetry is an oral , but not performative art . Chapter 3 focuses on Billy Collins’s performance of authenticity , investigating the apparent paradox of achieving popularity while maintaining artistic integrity . Beau Sia’s political poetry is the subject of Chapter 4 ; his ability to affect change in his audience is considered , as well as his goal of an author -audience alliance . Lastly , Patricia Smith’s performance of authorship as a means of survival is discussed in Chapter 5 . Smith performs intimacy with her audience ; by sharing details of her life she models the process of writing in order to deal with various kinds of trauma .
URI: http : / /hdl .handle .net /2152 /ETD -UT -2010 -05 -1060
Date: 2010-10-06


The role of the poet : poetry performance at the beginning of the twenty-first century. Doctoral dissertation, University of Texas at Austin. Available electronically from http : / /hdl .handle .net /2152 /ETD -UT -2010 -05 -1060 .

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