proclivitease said: Do you have any advice for reading poetry out loud for the first time (like at a coffee shop or book store or where ever they may have a reading)
Hi yes I have opinions on this!
The main thing about reading out loud is that you need to understand this is a performance. You are performing for an audience. You might not be in like frills and black tights, holding a fake skull or some shit, but you are standing in front of an audience, and they deserve to be engaged. So a little theatricality is required.
That means you should try to make eye contact. You should probably gesticulate a little, with your hands. You’re going to need to emote a bit, where necessary. Basically read your words with conviction, but try to make it sound natural.
Like you don’t need to go all slam poetry with it (unless you’re going for that sort of thing), but as a rule I think it’s better to go overboard than keep it flat. Some people might not like slam poetry, but absolutely no one likes monotonous-academic-poetry-robot guy.
Don’t worry about messing up, or flubbing a line. Don’t apologize for yourself, and keep self-deprecation to a minimum. The audience can smell a lack of confidence. Just remember that when you’re reading, YOU are the boss. The audience is there to listen to you. If you fuck up, you fuck up. Just roll with it, make a joke. They will appreciate you not being all weak kneed about it.
As a primer you should maybe go watch some stand-up, some of your favorite film monologues, some Don Draper speeches. Basically just anything where a person is telling someone else a story. Because that’s all you’re doing. What you’re reading might be a little abstract, might not begin with “Once upon a time,” but reading is reading. Oral recitation has and will always operate under the same basic principles, whether it’s in the nursery, or the boardroom, or a bunch of lit nerds in a coffee shop.
Okay, I hope this helped. Good luck!