Any of you poets have advice about readings? (1 Viewer)

esart

esart.com
Founding member
I have to do a book presentation tomorrow afternoon which will also involve me reading some of my poems from the book I did with Bill, Monsters on Jasmine St.

I have never read my poems out loud to anyone before, much less a crowd of strangers (many of them will be on the conservative side too). So I'm nervous. REAL nervous.

Anyone have some veteran advice, words of wisdom, or supportive insults?
 

Bukfan

"The law is wrong; I am right"
Well, I'm no poet, but what about just reading your poems loud and clear and in the way you think they should be read. Maybe a shot of your favorite liquor just before the reading would help too.

Supportive insults? That's hilarious! :D - Unfortunately, I've only experienced the non-supportive kind.
 
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A hearty dinner and a substantial amount to drink beforehand should work fine. Whenever I've done presentations I attempt to speak as loud as possible due to my mumbling norm of talking. Thinking of it as an absurd situation also helps me a little. I have always wanted to try walking into a room knocking stuff over, you should go with that.
 

Bukfan

"The law is wrong; I am right"
Right, have mjp in the crowd and present him to the crowd in the same way Buk once presented Linda to the crowd. :hmh:
 

Hosh

hoshomccreesh.com
If things start to go south, offer to arm wrestle someone...

Or maybe MJP could writhe around on the stage behind you with SOY BOMB painted on his chest?

No, no...smash a watermelon Gallagher style! Conservatives love the Sledge-o-matic!

Or hand out paper plates with a pinhole in the middle of them and instruct the audience not to look directly at your for fear of permanent eye damage...only, on YOUR SIDE of the paper plates put the faces of your friends and family smiling..to relax you. (If your friends and family relax you that is...) Easy as pie!

Which is just my way of saying I have no idea how to give a reading. Not even a little bit.
 

Rekrab

Usually wrong.
A couple drinks before hand (not too much -- you'll slur your words). Read slowly and deliberately. Loud enough to be heard in the back of the room. My best advice is to realize the audience wants to like you. They are very forgiving. They're on your side (unless an enemy, a pro heckler, or a trollish type being shows up). So even if you screw up, it's okay. They will over look that and see the good in you. And don't take it too seriously. While you're reading, millions are at home watching tv or walking the dog.

I have other advice but it's more complicated. A way to deal with anxiety and anticipation, about getting into the groove, being in the moment, rushing through the funnel ... but a couple drinks actually has the same effect.
 
Right, have mjp in the crowd and present him ...

oh no!
That didn't do him good the last time.
.
.

(mjp: "... I figured I would add my two cents, so I yelled, "Roni, you rock!" Roni said, "What?" and I yelled again, "I said you rock!" At which point he gave me a shout out from the stage, which was a nice gesture. Or so I thought at the time. [...] During the intermission people started to approach me, "You're the one who runs that web site?" kind of disappointed, like they thought maybe Brad Pitt ran it, or someone who looked like a professor. Not a scraggly idiot in old jeans and an old t-shirt. Then, gradually, it seemed that everyone I've ever brutally insulted on the forum found their way to me. ...")
 

mjp

Founding member
Ah yes, that was a glorious evening! I still get a warm feeling when I remember it.

Carol's reading went well, as I assumed it would. When she was finished one woman said she was moved to tears by one of the poems. Can't get a better reaction that that. She read from the BOSP book, Monsters on Jasmine Street.
 

Rekrab

Usually wrong.
Glad to hear it went well. Readings are always more comfortable when they're in your rear view mirror. Looking ahead to them is nerve-wracking.
 

hoochmonkey9

Art should be its own hammer.
Reaper Crew
Moderator
Founding member
yes, glad to hear it went well.

When she was finished one woman said she was moved to tears by one of the poems.

was it Just Before the Bicentennial? that's a good one, my favourite from the book.

but, most importantly, how did Freebird turn out? because in rehearsals it was a little pitchy.
 

mjp

Founding member
She sized up the crowd and did Stairway instead of Free Bird. It went good, but she always fucks up the solo.
 

hoochmonkey9

Art should be its own hammer.
Reaper Crew
Moderator
Founding member
good call. I was worried she would pull out Walk This Way. that song is played out.

seriously, Carol I'm very glad it went well. I've never given a reading (not since high school) but i did quite a bit of acting in my early/mid 2os and the stuff I'd do to get myself prepared to go onstage was crazy (I was extremely shy and quiet, not as shy now, and despite how I appear online I don't like to be the centre of attention). I had to stop acting because the prep work stopped being effective and I lost confidence. I'd be a better film actor, anyway. stage acting is too shouty. heh.
 

hoochmonkey9

Art should be its own hammer.
Reaper Crew
Moderator
Founding member
For the last time, I'm not Demi Moore. Stop sending me flowers and dental dams, it's just creepy.
 

esart

esart.com
Founding member
mjp knows more about Demi than he lets on. You guys should ask him about it.

But what's funnier is what he knows about Tom Cruise. Much more interesting! And weird.
 

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