Erin Gannon

Research title: Their Names Rang Out: On Poets, Performance, and Populism

Research Summary

Crucial to a poet’s sense of identity is usually a notion of their role in the larger society—whether this role is as martyr (as relates to Plato’s pronouncement of the poet’s alleged danger to society) or messiah (through various pronouncements of access to higher truths, the vanguard, etc.).

My contention is that the poets who have captured popular imagination in the US have been those who saw themselves as both stage and page poets. These poets sensed, at their historical moments, that their poetry would work best when moved out of the academy and into the streets. How did they arrive at that decision? What contexts made the decision possible? Is this contention even accurate?

For my creative work, I will be submitting a long-form poem/rock opera detailing the story of a San Francisco rock band, from formation to break up. This complements the proposed critical work and explores themes of how live performance is perceived in a culture that no longer values “live” anything. The work is written to be performed; that is, as a “stage poem.”

It is through the production of the form (and the actual live performance itself) of this work that I am hoping my critical research will feed my creative work.


“Queen Is a State of Mind: Framed.” 2019. Honest Ulsterman,



SoundThought, Glasgow, Dec. 18, 2019

Scratch Night at the Accidental Theatre, Belfast, Jan. 16, 2020