Poetry Reading – How To

By CBramkamp Poetry, Writing Encouragement Comments Off on Poetry Reading – How To

I  read from Ammonia Sunrise at an artist cafe gathering last week.

Reading  my poetry out loud was very satisfying, the audience responded beautifully, they sighed after hearing a poem, they applauded, they liked the works and the poetry.  They bought books.

And I thought, why should we read our poetry out loud?

Instant feedback.

You know if ia poem hit a note, you can hear the sigh from the audience, you can hear if you captured something in them and managed to form words that express the ideas they harbored in their heads and hearts.

For instance, I have a poem Williams-Sonoma life, that is popular , that hit a note.  And it made me consider sending it out to more contests, because I got the instant feedback.

So here are some ideas about poetry readings:

Be careful about how much you explain.  You know how authors and poets give some background on the poem?  Why they wrote it, how they wrote it, etc.   How much explanation does your poem need?  We have a rule for ballet:  the longer the program notes, the more  incomprehensible the dance.  You shouldn’t need to explain all that much about the poem, if you do, then the poem needs more work.

When you read your work, it will make you feel like a star.

Or better yet, a real poet. So enjoy the moment.

Even if you share the space (and you will) and even if you feel like you don’t want to listen to everyone else’s work (and you must) you will still feel special.

Oh, and a half hour is a very long time, so if you are given less time, it will be enough.

Have extra poems ready to fill that time, and bring something you just wrote – a fresh poem barely out of the oven and still warm.

During this most recent reading, I shared my space with poet Carlos Reyes – check him out.  I bought a copy of his book and his wife bought a copy of my book.

Poetry readings are just about the exchange of ideas and world views – listen to the other works and get inspired!

Bring a note book (electronics are too distracting)  and make notes for your  next set  of poems. Listening to the ideas of another poet is often inspirational, valuable and keeps the tradition moving forward.  How do you think Beowulf survived the centuries?  People listened, and remembered.

One caveat.  Your loved one may not be as enamoured with poetry, even yours, as you.  If not, don’t drag them to any readings.  Fly solo, take the moment for yourself.  They and your relationship, will thank you.  I know my husband does.


Essential Tools for Spring


I want a Williams-Sonoma life

Fuzzy Chicks ($16.95)

Miniature cookies (page 9)

Which I would deliver with great delight

to grandchildren

Stamp and Style Easter Cookie Cutters ($19.95 exclusive)

Bunnies, Flowers, Eggs and Basket Shapes

Colored dough, perfect neat edges

I need an ebelskiver pan (page 33, $39.95)

And the ebelskiver turning tool (2 for $12.95)

For perfect mornings

Spread out on the French Country Table Cloth (page 26)

with thick, blue rimmed china ($169.00 for the set)

on the outdoor patio

under the olive trees and vineyards


Meals are perfectly endless

In the Williams-Sonoma Life

I will need all new Pans ($799.95)

A Calphalon Unison Slide Non-stick Frittata Pan Set ($99.95)

The pans will flip an omelet – effortlessly

or braise something

for the endless luncheon

on the outdoor patio

under the olive trees and vineyards

after the Easter egg hunt

the romping fictional grandchildren

(must be girls)

discover with delight

the personalized, decorated eggs (page 14)



is extra.

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