Spoken Word and Spirit’s Breath: A Theopoetics of Performance Poetry

Spoken Word and Spirit’s Breath: A Theopoetics of Performance Poetry
ES Dodd
9/24/19 12:43
Literature and Theology
Stanley Romaine Hopper defined theopoiesis as a performative form of thinking that ‘effect[s] disclosure through the crucial nexus of event’. Unlike theology which seeks an explanation of the revelatory through the tools of rational discourse, this poetic and participatory activity is ‘a breathing with the inhale and exhale of Being … that “the god” may breathe through us’. Following Hopper, this article addresses the performative ‘event’ of the spoken word as a window into a discussion of creative breath, exploring its implications for a theology that seeks to ‘breathe with’ the Spirit. The use of breath in the work of contemporary poets Tony Walsh and Kate Tempest demonstrates a perhaps largely unacknowledged form of poetic ‘difficulty’ (one of Geoffrey Hill’s criteria for good poetry) in the spoken word. Their intriguing practices of creative breath may contribute to a theopoetics of the Spirit that takes poetic performance seriously as a means of revelatory disclosure.
https://academic.oup.com/litthe/article-abstract/33/3/292/5571489
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