The Art of Literary Performance

Feature

WE SOMETIMES FORGET that literature began as a spoken art. Stories, epic poems, mythic tales– passed down in taverns or around campfires for millennia. Even Shakespeare, greatest writer of them all, was as much a spoken word actor as scribbling writer. Historians who’ve examined documents signed by the actual man have wondered how literate English literature’s biggest name actually was.

He was a performer! Reciting verse from a stage. Reveling in the joys of sounds, of language.

ALL of which means we plan to give increased attention to the spoken aspect of the literary art in the coming year. As preview we offer an amazing story told by high school student Fran-Claire Kinney at our Open Mic feature, “A Series of Sharp Cracks in Succession.” Amazing in that the short piece is powerful yet at the same time, concise. Reveling in its brevity, if you will. It’s worth a listen.

AS you do that, we’ll lay plans for other projects involving the human voice. Perhaps a Challenge of some sort– though we’re so practiced at public performance, even the recorded variety, no one may pick up the gauntlet when thrown. Stay tuned.

(Painting: “The Duel After the Masquerade” by Jean-Leon Gerome.)

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