Starting the PhD: Another Journey Begins!

Hello readers! My apologies for the relative lack of regular posts over the last couple of months; it’s for the very happy reason that I’ve been swamped with making, promoting, and performing poetry! In August I performed with the spoken word collective Loud Poets at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, which was hugely exciting and taught me much about how hectic, demanding—and rewarding—putting on a large-scale show at a festival can be (I wrote about that experience here).

Now I’m back to the academic schedule, however, and delighted to announce that this October I’m beginning my PhD in English at the University of Strathclyde! I will be researching the way spoken word poetry is used in the U.K. for the expression of marginalised identities. I have many questions I’ll be investigating, including parsing the various origins of contemporary slam-style poetry in the U.K., identifying the most notable characteristics of this style of poetry, and determining how various marginalised groups and individuals use this genre as an activist tool. I could not be more excited to start this research, as it focuses on an area I am extremely interested in both as an academic and as an artist. My research methods will include not only traditional critical research but also interviews with spoken word poets active in the U.K. today.

As part of the PhD, I plan to continue posting brief essays on this site with my observations, theories, and reflections on slam poetry in the U.K., both based on my personal experiences as an artist and my academic experiences as a scholar (and both). I continue to welcome your comments, especially now as they help to question my ideas and expand the conversation about the role of spoken word poetry in contemporary society. So please watch this space for more essays about spoken word, coming soon! Thanks, as always, for reading. -Katie

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