Date of Award

5-1-2014

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Speech Communication

First Advisor

Stucky, Nathan

Abstract

Open mic poetry events are representative examples of a widespread and socially significant performance phenomenon--the relational and dialogic art and activism of the sustained encounter as a demonstration of the possibility for new social relations. Open mic performances center the pleasure of creating and sharing art and relationships in a manner that works against the value systems of capitalistic exchange and enterprise. I conduct an autoethnographic study of the Transpoetic Playground--a reoccurring open mic poetry event in Carbondale, Illinois. This study mixes performative writing, poetry, and personal narrative with the ethnographic methods of participation observation and interviewing in order to tell a story of an amateur performance poetry community and what it can teach about how to resist the constraints of contemporary socio-communicative relations.

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