Elaborate Versionings: Characteristics of Emergent Performance in Three Print/Oral/ Aural Poets

Literary studies regards the “poetry reading” as a marginal phenomenon. By resituating the published poems of Amiri Baraka, Kamau Brathwaite, and Cecilia Vicuña in performance contexts, this essay proposes that each reading has the dimensions of an emergent performance, with distinguishable oral dynamics. The poet-performers break through into performativity by means of elaboration and versioning. […]

Performance and Text in the Italian Carolingian Tradition

The Italian chivalric-epic tradition is based primarily on medieval Carolingian lore from France. Oral and written manifestations of this tradition influenced and enriched each other across the centuries. This essay explores the dialectic between oral and written Carolingian epic in Italy. It focuses on the medieval cantari poems and on the Sicilian cunto, which was […]

“Whistlin’ Towards the Devil’s House”: Poetic Transformations and Natural Metaphysics in an Appalachian Folktale Performance

The late Ray Hicks of Beech Mountain, North Carolina was an acclaimed master of the traditional storytelling art. Yet little has been written that conveys the poetic dimensions of his tellings, nor their striking liberties within traditional molds. This study centers on a performance of one of Hicks’s signature tales, “Wicked John and the Devil.” […]

Butterflies and Dragon-Eagles: Processing Epics from Southwest China

In the mountains of southwest China, epic narratives are part of the traditional performance-scapes of many ethnic minority cultures. In some cases locals participate in the preservation of oral or oral-connected epics from their respective areas. This article discusses the dynamics of acquiring and translating texts from two major ethnic minority groups in cooperation with […]

A New Approach to the Classification of Gaelic Song

This essay illustrates the importance of songs and singing in traditional Gaelic society, revisits earlier attempts to classify Gaelic song, and examines whether or not the effort of constructing a classification system is still worthwhile. Finally, it examines the place and role occupied by singing in Gaelic in our own time, and in particular with […]