Arts, Culture, and Humanities

PERFORMANCE POETRY PRESERVATION PROJECT INC

  • Boston, MA
  • www.PoetryPreservation.org

Mission Statement

The Performance Poetry Preservation Project (P4) is the only community-supported, grassroots organization dedicated to protecting and preserving the recorded history of the poetry slam movement. P4 possesses a living, growing, and carefully curated performance poetry archive, one whose ambition is to collect and catalog a broad representation of the slam poetry movement.

We believe in the power of the poetry slam to change lives, and are dedicated to preserving the great poetry that crosses hundreds of slam stages, all over the world.

We serve the international community of slam poets, fans and scholars.

Main Programs

  1. Media Collection

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Service Areas

Self-reported

International

Our organization is Internet-based and its services are available to all users of our website.

ruling year

2011

President since 2016

Self-reported

Mr. Thomas G. Bouliane

Executive Director since 2016

Self-reported

Mr. Wess Mongo Jolley

Keywords

Self-reported

Poetry, performance, slam, recordings, collection, library, video, audio, text

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Also Known As

P4

EIN

45-1689673

 Number

2911564144

Contact

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Museum & Museum Activities (A50)

Film, Video (A31)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990-N.

Programs + Results

How does this organization make a difference?

Overview

Self-reported by organization

P4 has thus far collected hundreds of performance poetry media items, have cataloged dozens of accessions, and have begun indexing the contents of over 4,500 recorded poems for subject and meaning.

We have also built a website to promote our mission, and are building a database of poem data for online search and discovery by fans and scholars through our website.

P4 has researched and documented the intellectual property rights issues and restrictions for the authors of the poetry in our collection and for our own use of that poetry.

Most recently, we have met with subject experts to assess our collection's importance to the slam community and to humanities scholars. We are are now preparing ourselves for presentation to potential institutional repository partners.

Programs

Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Program 1

Media Collection

To collect recordings of poetry performed at poetry slams and other events, and other materials related to slam's history over its first 25 years, from 1987 through 2012.

Category

Arts, Culture & Humanities

Population(s) Served

Adults

Budget

Charting Impact

Self-reported by organization

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

  1. What is the organization aiming to accomplish?
    P4's mission, simply stated, is to collect, preserve, and provide access to performance material from the poetry slam movement's first 25 years (1987-2012).

    Working collaboratively with poets, academics, librarians and with the support of the slam community, we resolve to:

    Overcome obstacles to preserving recorded slam performances;
    Create a sustainable archive of recorded performances for scholarship and public enrichment; and
    Promote awareness of slam poetry's significant effects on American culture and the arts.
  2. What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?
    We understand that our plans are substantial and many will take extensive time and energy to complete. Here are some of our critical priorities as we move forward:

    Gather many more recordings of slam poems, performances and ephemera to expand the P4 collection;
    Further catalog our collection media to reveal its baseline contents;
    Digitize the media to preserve its poetry performance content and to prepare it for Internet access;
    Refine our collection's metadata and determine the optimal means to index the content for ready online access;
    Add a practical, real-time, website user interface to the collection's performance content;
    Attract volunteers to help us build an online archive of performance poetry;
    Explore partnership possibilities that would share P4's objectives, workload and achievements; and
    Execute our fundraising and marketing plan, and seek help financing our work to achieve the tangible results the P4 mission requires.
  3. What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?
    Aside from the many talents, assets and contributions of our officers and directors, P4 has the support of the most recognized people in the history of slam and the organizations most actively promoting and operating the slam phenomenon today.

    We have also engaged a website designer and content management expert to construct the collection database and the online search engine that will be required to present the contents of our collection to scholars and the general public. We have retained a firm which is expert in extracting and indexing meaning from recorded narrative for general access and scholarly research.

    Further, we have recently received assurance that our organization, the content we now have available, and our future prospects are of substantial interest to academic institutions, colleges and libraries suitable to become active collaborators in achieving our goals.
  4. How will they know if they are making progress?
    P4's Executive Director, officers and directors communicate daily to ensure that constructive tasks are assigned and completed to fulfill our mission. Periodic internal meetings and conferences with outside experts review our progress to ensure adherence to our plans and to determine any new items to be addressed in the short term.

    We present our progress publicly through our website, which also allows the public to contribute content to and comment on our activities.

    Finally, P4 maintains digital records of external communications, internal meetings, and financial dealings to satisfy any relevant inquiry into our organization, our actions and our progress.
  5. What have and haven't they accomplished so far?
    P4 is very pleased to have created the most substantial collection of poetry recordings and texts from the first 25 years of slam's history. The collection has been cataloged and, in part, indexed to reveal subject matter and meaning from the thousands of poetry performances it contains.

    The website we have built is a public portal which promotes our mission internationally. This website has been built specifically to become the platform from which we present our collection to the benefit of the general public and academic scholarship alike.

    P4 has investigated the sometimes ticklish matter of intellectual property rights and has adopted a set of policies to satisfy both the authors of the poetry in our collection and the users of our forthcoming search tool.

    But our progress is far from complete.

    We plan to amass many more recordings of slam poems, performances and ephemera and to digitize the media to preserve its poetry performance content and prepare it for Internet access.

    The collection's metadata extraction process requires refinement and many staff and/or volunteer hours to implement it in its final form. A practical, real-time, website user interface to the collection's performance content has yet to be built, although the database underpinnings is well underway.

    The institutional knowledge and facilities of an established repository partner would be highly advantageous to reaching our goals, but that affiliation has not yet been achieved. And our fundraising and marketing plan has only barely begun being enacted.

    P4, working hard and proud of its development to date, has ambitious plans. With help, we expect considerable growth and to accomplish the goals we have set for ourselves.
Service Areas

Self-reported

International

Our organization is Internet-based and its services are available to all users of our website.

Funding Needs

P4's most critical funding need, as of December 2017, is community outreach and marketing. Our ambition is to make P4 an integral part of the poetry slam community, and make the preservation of slam history a key value for all members of the "Slam Family". This ambition will be achieved through a comprehensive outreach effort, where members of our staff and Board of Directors visit slams all around the country (and potentially abroad) to engage local slams and slammasters in conversations about our goals. This kind of community support will translate into donations of materials that need preservation, financial support from the community, and grassroots activism toward our goals. Our second pressing funding need is for catalog infrastructure development. Well beyond our need for outreach, P4 must develop the technical infrastructure to properly describe our materials, digitize them, and make them available to both scholars and the general public. We are well on our way to achieving this goal, but need the help of both skilled web designers and librarians to manifest our vision into reality. Our third funding need will be our most significant, and will be the core of our operation for years to come. Once the materials are digitized and cataloged, our goal is to tag and index the material in several "dimensions of meaning". By this, we mean that our material should be searchable through an in-depth collection of indexing tags that describe the poem's cultural, social, and personal contexts. We'll also be tagging the poem for style, performance qualities, and personal characteristics of the poet. Unfortunately, properly doing this indexing work will require a large number of skilled members of the poetry community, who will listen or watch the material, and tag each performance correctly. We anticipate this being a core function for our organization for the foreseeable future. Together, these three needs constitute the most pressing and immediate funding challenges for The Performance Poetry Preservation Project.

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Financials

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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

PERFORMANCE POETRY PRESERVATION PROJECT INC

Leadership

NEED MORE INFO ON THIS NONPROFIT?

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  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2015, 2013 and 2011
  • Board Chair and Board Members
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President

Mr. Thomas G. Bouliane

Executive Director

Mr. Wess Mongo Jolley

BIO

Tom's career dealt mainly with the design, construction and installation of communications systems. His papers, "A Calculator Program for Predicting Sound System Performance" and "Intelligibility Mapping Through Array Perspective Analysis" were poetry only to the attendees of the 1981 and 1982 Audio Engineering Society Conventions. He retired as a Senior Systems Engineer from General Electric in 2007 and resides in Boston, Massachusetts. The conceptualization, presentation, organization, management, documentation and training skills he developed while pursuing his career are being applied to P4's administrative aspects.

He is also the father of Gabrielle Bouliane, deceased, who was a performance poet, videographer, Slammaster, and a fervent advocate for performance poets and their art form. Mr. Bouliane continues his daughter's pursuit through P4.

STATEMENT FROM THE President

"The Performance Poetry Preservation Project (P4) is the only community-supported, grassroots organization dedicated to protecting and preserving the recorded history of the poetry slam movement. P4 possesses a living, growing, and carefully curated performance poetry archive, one whose ambition is to collect and catalog a broad representation of the slam poetry movement.

We believe in the power of the poetry slam to change lives, and are dedicated to preserving the great poetry that crosses hundreds of slam stages, all over the world.

Without a concerted effort, much of the legacy of a modern performance poetry movement will soon be lost.

The Poetry Slam movement is a relatively new development in contemporary culture, one that showcases and encourages numerous underrepresented poetic voices. Its spontaneous and grass-roots nature, however, means that critical live performances are often not collected or adequately archived.

But there is hope...

Many reading series, slams, and open mics across the country are now recording their events, and the technology to do so is coming within reach for many more each year. Changing technology is leading to a popular wave of poetry recording that is sure to dwarf all of our past efforts.

...and there are fears.

The challenge is that this is rapidly evolving technology, and very few of those capturing poetry in performance understand the extremely ephemeral nature of the recordings that they make. Even more critically, the performances captured over the past 25 years of the movement are, for the most part, languishing on aging media, in the closets and attics of slammasters and venues around the world. Without proper storage, care and stewardship, many of these recordings will simply become unreadable in as little as five to ten years. The media will deteriorate, formats will change, or they will simply be discarded due to a lack of a repository to properly preserve them. Simply put, that stack of CDs on the Slammaster's shelf will one day be as useless as a drawer full of computer punch cards or a box of 5 ΒΌ inch floppy disks. A whole generation of poetry history and performance is in danger of being lost.

P4 was formed to tackle this problem, by creating a digital home for the creative output of the poetry slam community.

"

Governance

BOARD CHAIR

Mr. Thomas G. Bouliane

BOARD LEADERSHIP PRACTICES

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BOARD ORIENTATION & EDUCATION

Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?

N/A

CEO OVERSIGHT

Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?

N/A

ETHICS & TRANSPARENCY

Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?

N/A

BOARD COMPOSITION

Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?

N/A

BOARD PERFORMANCE

Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?