Cultural activities

Spanish Performance Poetry in the 21st Century

Spanish Performance Poetry in the 21st Century Anne Bravo

Spanish contemporary poetry, in both written and spoken form, is currently enjoying extraordinary vitality in the Iberian Peninsula. A large number of poetry books, periodicals, magazines, and online sources on the genre, the innovative reworkings of poetic traditions in aural practice, and of course an enthusiastic public that enjoys this widely available literature in all its forms, are proof of its strength. One of the most noteworthy manifestations of poetry in Spain at present, both in terms of the popularity and the vitality they enjoy, is witnessed in live poetry recitals, poetry slams, and jam poetry sessions: what has become known as perfopoesía. These events –performed in alternative venues outside official or prestigious literary circles such as cafés, bars, clubs or, more recently due to Covid-19, social media platforms­– take place without much support from official cultural institutions but manage to attract a high number of poets and audience members. Their great popularity signals a key feature in Spanish literary circles: a new and non-traditional generation of literary consumers’ ­–and producers– has emerged amid social, political and historical crises. This workshop series will look at the main forms of perfopoesía at present and analyse the cultural shift they represent. Performance poetry generates great traffic of ideas and cultural exchanges, and this set of series explores its cultural value in order to legitimize this poetry as a worthy form of cultural production and as a social revolution.

This course, taught in English and using a selection of primary sources in Spanish with English translations, will visit the latest performance poetry of the Iberian Peninsula, focusing on poetry recitals, jam poetry sessions, poetry slams, and performance poetry on social media. The course comprises of 5 sessions online and will be taught by Professor Diana Cullell from the University of Liverpool.


Session I. Spanish performance poetry in the 21st Century: a social revolution

Session II. Poetry Recitals: Transmedia poetry and oral vs written texts.

Session III. Jam Poetry Sessions: Social Concerns at the fore.

Session IV. Poetry Slams: Innovations and returns to the past.

Session V. Performance Poetry and Social Media: A lockdown remedy.