“A poem should not mean but be,” poet Archibald MacLeish famously wrote.
The Performing Knowledge Project could not agree more.
Poetry exists in performance; it comes alive when it is performed; it can only be understood, when the words jump off the page, enter the listener, and become more than they are. Whether the poem is performed on stage, or in the classroom, or in the imagination of the reader, for the poem to be it must sing in the ear of she or he who hears it.
The Poetry Education Center offers you an opportunity to explore the exciting world of poetry through the lens of performance. Here, not only will you experience a performance of each of the poems we showcase, but you will also discover the process we used to ready those poems for presentation. That process will give you the skills you need to experience poetry like you have never experienced it before. From that experience, the meaning of poetry – what it means to you – will be richer and more vibrant than it has ever been.
Additionally, but most importantly, by following the Poetry in Performance Process demonstrated in The Poetry Education Center, you will acquire the tools necessary to create your own poetry performances, of your poetry or the poetry of others. By doing so, you will develop your own meaning for poems and poetry and so much more.
This site is in development. Poems will be added as they become available for viewing, imagining, and hearing. Let us begin with the basics.