CRWR 3200: Spoken Word, Storytelling, and Literary Performance

This course will explore spoken word, storytelling, and literary performance, with emphasis on the writing of performative genres and the relationship between text and performance. Lectures and discussions will examine historic and contemporary approaches to spoken word, storytelling, and literary performance (e.g. dub poetry, slam poetry, etc.) and the use of theatrical tools and techniques in these genres. Various forms and styles will be analyzed to consider topics like writing for the stage, poetic metre and cadence, voice production, staging/blocking, and the transference of oral art forms to the printed page. Course materials will include texts from a broad range of writers and performance artists. Students will submit a weekly work-in-progress for workshop and peer review, and tasked with developing some of these works for later assignments. Students will also complete various in-class assignments and activities, and have opportunity to work both individually and in collaboration with classmates. Emphasis will be on the writing, performance, and critical analysis of oral art forms. Basic knowledge of and access to audio recording software (e.g. GarageBand, Audacity) is recommended but not required. Students will receive peer feedback in a workshop environment, and have frequent opportunity to play audio recordings of their work or perform live for the class. While the focus of the course is on creativity, students will also learn something of the business of storytelling and spoken word through lecture, discussion, and a visiting guest industry professional. The course will culminate in a National Poetry Month performance showcase of student work, which will count towards a final portfolio grade. The class will combine workshop, lecture and discussion at the 3000 level. The class is limited to an enrollment of 24 students.