Poets and Personae: 'Poet Voice' as Sociolinguistic Identity Construction in Spoken Word Poetry

Date

2020

Authors

Williams, Cannon

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Worldwide access
Access changed 8/24/22

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Abstract

The sociolinguistic study of language variation within and between social communities has often been used as a tool for understanding identity construction. Following this tradition, this project subjects a previously unexamined social identity—the Spoken Word poet—to an examination of how members of the Spoken Word community construct identity through their Community of Practice. This project proposes that there is a basic set of linguistic features belonging to the shared repertoire of this community: a Poet Voice. Through examining the use of these features alongside features of a poem's created personae, this project presents Poet Voice as indexing both the speaker’s personal stake in the identity of “Spoken Word poet” and her membership within the larger group.

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