Tag Archives: Poetry Foundation

Perform-a-Form: putting Page and Stage back together again

One of the ideas this Lost Shark has been exploring is the line that is so often drawn between page and stage. The Page vs. Stage debate has long been part of the poetry landscape, so it has been fascinating to get an insight into the heads of artists like Hinemoana Baker, Tim Sinclair and alicia sometimes (see the posts – Speak Out: Poetry and the Spoken Word). Each of these artists continue to push the boundaries of their art and find success in both areas. Are they Perform-a-Formers?

I came across this great manifesto by Thomas Sayers Ellis on the Poetry Foundation website. The manifesto states that ‘a perform–a–form occurs when the idea body and the performance body, frustrated by their own segregated aesthetic boundaries, seek crossroads with one another.’ Ellis goes on to say that  ‘perform–a–formers seek a path around both academic and slam poetry; to eliminate the misconceptions between them; and to balance the professional opportunities (in publishing and employment) opened to each. The utterance, paged or memorized, is only a schema in need of diverse modes of respiration.’ It is a really great read and one that I encourage you all to check out.

Read the full manifesto here.

Interestingly, Ellis claims Sekou Sundiata as the last great perform-a-former.

Watch him in action here.


Filed under poetry & publishing