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Beyond the Page
Poetry and Performance in Spanish America
By Jill S. Kuhnheim
184 pp. / 6.00 x 9.00 / 2014
Cloth (978-0-8165-3080-9) [s]
  
Related Interest
  - Latin American Studies


Poetry began as a spoken art and remains one to this day, but readers tend to view the poem on the page as an impenetrable artifact. This book examines the performance of poetry to show how far
[Kuhnheim] argues for the recognition of the significant presence of poetry in Spanish America in ways that often escape those focused on the written text.

—Melanie Nicholson, author of Surrealism in Latin American Literature: Searching for Breton's Ghost

Although poetry has been considered by many as the most elitist of literary genres, this book demonstrates the many ways poetry has been performed and has eluded the notion of the ivory tower, foreign to public and social impact.

—Jacobo Sefamí, author of Mourning for Papá: A Story of a Syrian-Jewish Family in Mexico

beyond the page it can travel. Exploring a range of performances from early twentieth-century recitations to twenty-first-century film, CDs, and Internet renditions, Beyond the Page offers analytic tools to chart poetry beyond printed texts.

Jill S. Kuhnheim, looking at poetry and performance in Spanish America over time, has organized the book to begin with the early twentieth century and arrive at the present day. She includes noteworthy poets and artists such as José Martí, Luis Palés Matos, Eusebia Cosme, Nicomedes Santa Cruz, Pablo Neruda, César Vallejo, and Nicolás Guillén, as well as very recent artists whose performance work is not as well known. Offering fresh historical material and analysis, the author illuminates the relationship between popular and elite cultural activity in Spanish America and reshapes our awareness of the cultural work poetry has done in the past and may do in the future, particularly given the wide array of technological possibilities. The author takes a broad view of American cultural production and creates a dialogue with events and criticism from the United States as well as from Spanish American traditions.

Oral and written elements in poetry are complementary, says Kuhnheim, not in opposition, and they may reach different audiences. As poetry enjoys a revival with modern media, performance is part of the new platform it spans, widening the kind of audience and expanding potential meanings. Beyond the Page will appeal to readers with an interest in poetry and performance, and in how poetry circulates beyond the page. With an international perspective and dynamic synthesis, the book offers an innovative methodology and theoretical model for humanists beyond the immediate field, reaching out to readers interested in the intersection between poetry and identity or the juncture of popular-elite and oral-written cultures.




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