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Acts of Poetry: American Poets' Theater and the Politics of PerformanceHeidi R. Bean 2019
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American poets' theater emerged in the postwar period alongside the rich, performance-oriented poetry and theater scenes that proliferated on the makeshift stages of urban coffee houses, shared apartments, and underground theaters, yet its significance has been largely overlooked by critics. Acts of Poetry shines a spotlight on poets' theater's key groups, practitioners, influencers, and inheritors, such as the Poets' Theatre, the Living Theatre, Gertrude Stein, Bunny Lang, Frank O'Hara, Amiri Baraka, Carla Harryman, and Suzan-Lori Parks. Heidi R. Bean demonstrates the importance of poets' theater in the development of twentieth-century theater and performance poetry, and especially evolving notions of the audience's role in performance, and in narratives of the relationship between performance and everyday life. Drawing on an extensive archive of scripts, production materials, personal correspondence, theater records, interviews, manifestoes, editorials, and reviews, the book captures critical assessments and behind-the-scenes discussions that enrich our understanding of the intertwined histories of American theater and American poetry in the twentieth century.
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