Writing, Poetry, Performance

The details
Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies
Colchester Campus
Postgraduate: Level 7
Monday 13 January 2020
Friday 20 March 2020
20 August 2019


Requisites for this module



Key module for


Module description

This module will examine pathways and encourage new ones, between forms of discipline in writing, poetry, and performance. Materials ranging from the 1960s post-modern 'happenings', to contemporary net-based performance will be explored and related to in the production of new student work.

As a group, we will explore issues common to performance art and interdisciplinary writing. The module will emphasise developing awareness of textual structures, methods and theories, as well as modes of distribution and performance. Students will be encouraged to find and develop individual processes of composition (across poetry, performance and text-based art) as well as the critical context. The structure and nature of the module will be suitable for students with an interest in or working in experimental forms of poetry and short fiction, performance, video and mixed-media writing.

The classes will be seminar-based, organised around focused readings of key works with related practical exercises. At the end of the module, there will be two focussed workshop sessions where students will share work and respond to each other's. Guest speakers will contribute to the module by introducing new forms and approaches of artistic practice.

Visits to exhibitions and events in the local vicinity will be heavily encouraged with certain 'away days' to key London shows, such as a visit to the Performance Room at the Tate Modern.

Module aims

- to produce developed and artistically inventive work that comments on interdisciplinarity and the intersections of writing, art, poetry, and performance in terms of media and concept
- to create a community sensibility within the group that promotes artistic debate, rigour and support
- to support student identity as creative practitioners

Module learning outcomes

1. An understanding of the historical lineages of interdisciplinary text-based art forms
2. An ability to theorise various forms of writing and performance
3. To gain or deepen experience of artistic processes in the production of text-based art forms and a knowledge of the contemporary context
4. An ability to respond and constructively critique peers' work

Module information

Essential Reading

Etchells, Tim, Certain Fragments: Contemporary Performance and Forced Entertainment, London: Routledge, 1999.

Hall, John, 'Performance Writing: A Lexicon Entry', in Performance Research, vol. 11, no. 3, September 2006, pp.8 9-91.

- On Performance Writing, with pedagogical sketches, Bristol: Shearsman Books, 2013.

Stein, Gertrude, How to Write, NY: Dover, 1975

Sumner, Alaric, Writing & Performance, PAJ: A Journal of Performance and Art, 61, vol. 21, no.1, January 1999

Supplementary Reading

Bogart, Anne. A Director Prepares: Seven Essays on Art and Theatre, London:
Routledge, 2001

Bottoms, Stephen & Goulish, Matthew. Small Acts of Repair: Performance, Ecology
and Goat Island, London: Routledge, 2007

Burrows, Jonathan. A Choreographer's Handbook, London: Routledge, 2010

Fusco, Coco, The Bodies that Were Not Ours: And Other Writings, London: Routledge, 2001

Goulish, Matthew. 39 Microlectures in Proximity of Performance, London: Routledge, 2000

Govan, Emma, Nicholson, Helen & Normington, Katie. Making a Performance:
Devising Histories and Contemporary Practices, London: Routledge, 2007

Huxley, M. & N. Witts, eds., The Twentieth Century Performance Reader, London: Routledge, 2002

Learning and teaching methods

Key texts relating to cross-genre forms of writing and performance will be issued each week for seminar discussion. The seminars will include practical exercises and experiments with emphasis on group work and collaboration.


  • Stein, Gertrude. (1971) 'Composition as Explanation', in Look at me now and here I am: writings and lectures 1909-45, Harmondsworth: Penguin.
  • Derrida, Jacques. (1988) 'Signature, Event, Context', in Limited Inc, Evanston: Northwestern University Press.
  • Alison Knowles. (December 1992) Event Scores: Small Pr Distribution.
  • Theory of the Dérive,
  • McDonough, Tom. (2002) Guy Debord and the Situationist International, Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press Ltd.
  • Olson, Charles. (1966) 'Projective Verse', in Selected writings of Charles Olson, New York: New Directions Publishing Corporation.
  • Drucker, Johanna. (2004) Century of Artists' Books, New York: Granary Books.
  • Ono, Yoko. (1996) Grapefruit, New York: St Martin's Press.
  • Drucker, Johanna. (2014) Graphesis, Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press.
  • Levertov, Denise. (1982) 'The Function of the Line', in Claims for Poetry, Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press.
  • Prynne, Jeremy. (2010) 'Mental Ears', in Chicago Review. vol. 55, pp.126-157

The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course. The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students. Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Weighting
Coursework Coursework piece: (5,000 words or equivalent in poetry) Critical Essay and Creative Piece 17/04/2020 5%
Practical Participation 95%

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Holly Pester
LiFTS General Office - email Telephone 01206 872626



External examiner

Prof Ian Charles Davidson
Professor of English and Creative Writing
Dr Celia Brayfield
Bath Spa University
Senior Lecturer
Available via Moodle
Of 20 hours, 20 (100%) hours available to students:
0 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information

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