module 8

Module 8: Performance: Poems in the Soft Space of the Body

In this module you will:

  • prepare to engage in Liz Lerman’s Critical Response Method in workshop
  • create instructions for a performance or show related to your theme
  • prepare for using Zoom for workshop


  • Read and watch the following materials related to Ban en Banlieue with an eye toward public presentation.
  • Preparatory Poems: Write a performance score, a set of instructions, or a description of a gallery that presents your poems (and ephemera where applicable.) If you’re thinking about a straight reading of your work, for this exercise you might wish to adapt Miller Williams’s method of showing rhythm and voice modulation when reading, or you might want to write some of the interstitial commentary that links poems together. You might think about ordering a set list. The important thing is that you’re figuring out what your presentation to your audience looks like and in what spaces that presentation might be performed.
  • Next we’re going to turn toward our workshop method. In the spirit of interdisciplinary learning, we’ll use Liz Lerman’s critique method for our poems. First read the attachment below, then watch the demonstration videos of Liz Lerman’s Critical Response Process.
  • Next, create a set list for workshop: choose 5 pieces from the work you’ve done for class. For each item on your list, plan how to present it: Do you read the poem aloud in a particular way? Do you want to share your screen so those with video can also see it? Do you want to ask another group member to read the poem? Do you read it twice?, etc. You may also prepare a statement about why you’re presenting the way you are. In the Critical Response Process video, John says about the cake, “It’s really important for people to get a good look at it, so I’m just going to walk it around.” Think about how you want us to engage with your work and how your presentation can lead to that engagement. The Critical Response Process is largely author-driven, so thinking about the kind of feedback you want will help guide your audience toward your goals.