Monday, 1 September 2008

Carol's Rules for Reading

1. Practise reading aloud before you go. (Be almost able to recite your poems.)
2. No need to overdress but wear one striking item.
3. Always look at your audience and smile before you start.
4. Involve the audience: ask some questions (that require just a nod in response).
5. Keep looking and smiling at the audience.
6. Never go over your allotted time.
7. Be flexible. Have more material ready than you need but always expect to read less.
8. Refer back to what a previous reader has said / done. (It shows you've been listening!)
9. If you make a mess of a poem - stop. Then start again (if it's near the beginning / a short poem).

10. If you have published a book etc. take some copies to sell. But be warned, if your audience consists entirely of fellow poets, you won't make many sales! (Why is that?)

Well those are my self rules. What are yours?

4 comments:

Crafty Green Poet said...

I think those are excellent rules, number one especially, nothing worse than a poet who can't take their eyes off the page! I like number 2 as well, in fact I have a 'look' for my readings, not that I've done any for a while, but dressing up a bit helped me feel more confident. Number 8's good too. And 9, i even once managed to make a joke out of totally messing up! Good to get an intentional laugh out of a mistake!

Some poets make a point of buying other poets books at readings, some don't. I know that at the Book Festival, on two occasions the reason i didn't buy the book was because i already had it... Also I have to admit I have so many small press poetry books that I need to be really impressed before I'll buy another...

Mistlethrush said...

Talk about messing up. Recently I began by reading my mildly erotic unnumbing fingers and dedicated it to the many older guys in the audience. (Anything to get attention!)I managed to mess up at the beginning so cut the poem and started again. One guy in the audience said is this poem that exciting then?! Of course I replied yes!! And so gained even more attention...

I don't consider myself a flirt but on this occasion it was helpful!

gingatao said...

Those are good rules, especially memorising the work and not looking down at a piece of paper fumbling. My rule is drink three good shots of whiskey just before going up.

Mistlethrush said...

Hi Gingato and welcome to the blog.

I don't think anyone would be able to understand a word I'd say after 3 shots of whiskey! The only time I drink it is with honey, lemon and hot water - cures a cold overnight.

However, I know a lot of others who would agree with you.

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