Keep it “real”: the co-construction of authentic performance and audience connection in poetry slam competitions
thesisposted on 24.05.2021, 14:26 by Gloria Eid
With the poetry slam competition – a live, competitive spoken word poetry reading – as context for this project, the study explores the concepts of authenticity and audience connection as they relate to message production and meaning-making processes in the field of professional communication. This project uses a symbolic interactionist perspective and Goffman’s (1959) theory of dramaturgy to investigate the poet-audience relationship and discover how a display of authentic performance works to achieve the goal of audience connection. The researcher interviewed six slam poets from the Greater Toronto and Southwestern Ontario area about their experiences in the poetry slam world. Results from the interviews reveal that authenticity is co-constructed between poet and audience, involving a coalescence of private preparation strategies and onstage performance strategies that help craft a sense of credibility and honesty from the poet that, in turn, contribute to achieving successful audience connection by the slam poet as performer.