Trigger Warnings for Poems?

An interesting post regarding whether poets should insert “trigger warnings” when performing their work live so as to avoid causing hurt or offence. If children are present at a performance then it is right that the kinds of poems performed should be constrained by the requirement not to subject youngsters to age inappropriate material. However where an audience is composed of adults they should be treated as such and it would be wrong for a poet to censore his/her material in any manner whatsoever. Kevin

Katie Ailes

Ed. note: This post has sparked discussion on Facebook and Twitter since being published, with feedback from a wide range of perspectives and opinions (some Facebook comments here, Twitter Storify here, some comments on the blog below). I’m delighted that a public conversation is occurring on the importance of trigger warnings, since for some they are essential components to live arts events. As I stated in my post, this is a discussion I think poets and promoters need to be having to ensure that poetry events are safe spaces for both performers and audience members, without censoring the poets’ freedom of expression. My original post is below, unaltered. Let’s keep the discussion going; please comment if you disagree/agree/want to talk. As this space is intended to be a forum for discussion, I’m also happy to have folks write guest posts sharing their thoughts on this issue. Thanks to all who’ve shared…

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