Julia Lajta-Novak receives START grant


Our colleague Dr. Julia Lajta-Novak has received the prestigious award for her project "Poetry off the Page - British Literary History and the Spoken Word, 1965-2015".

The Poetry Off the Page (PoP) project will reveal the vital role of orality in the aesthetic, economic, and socio-political dynamics of poetry since 1965. Focusing on poetry as spoken word that is mostly performed by the poets themselves, we will develop an alternative ‘literary’ history of the period. While poetry scholarship conventionally dissociates physical authors from their texts, Poetry Off the Page aims to write the human body and voice into the history of poetry. 

To date, the few studies focusing on poetry performance have been limited by the scarcity of archival material and, above all, by a lack of adequate methodology for analysing spoken poetry. Centring on the ‘event-ness’ of poetry performance and taking advantage of recent digital archives (audio/video/print), the project will introduce a new form of constellation analysis that combines close listening/viewing, performance analysis, and an ethnographic study of the poetry ‘scene’. Interviews conducted and records collected by the project will also help to expand the archives. This interdisciplinary approach will make it possible to explore the aesthetic and cultural work of poetry performance and break new ground for future scholarship in the field. It will shed light on poetry’s inheritance and innovative transformation of oral traditions, on the functions of poetry performance as a form of public address and a vehicle for identity politics, as well as on its relation to emerging communications technologies and their profound impact on how literature is experienced and by whom.

Project webpage

About the START programme

Article with video (in German)

(c) FWF-Luzia Puiu