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Do You See Yourself As A Performance Poet?

August 22nd, 2014

Performance-Poetry-blogFirst, thanks to Andy for last Friday’s blog. It’s great to hear that he’s having so much success with his books. But it just goes to show that once you’ve finished your book you can’t just rest on your laurels. These days you’ve got to be proactive if you want to make an impact – especially if your work is self-published.

It’s coming up to the time when we announce the winners of our Short Story competition. We’ve chosen them and notified them so we should have the results up on our website soon. This year we’ve decided to do something rather different and instead of starting straightaway with our annual Poetry competition, we’ve decided to run a ‘Flash Fiction’ competition first. Again, details will be on the website  within the next couple of weeks.

For those of you who might be addicted to poetry competitions, have you ever thought of using your skills in a different way? In fact, have you ever thought of performing your poems? Here are three good reasons to consider it:

  1. It gives you chance to get immediate feedback on your work. You’ll be able to hear which parts of a poem work well and which feel awkward. (Though you should have ironed out most of these issues whilst practising before performance.) The audience will also let you know if the part that you thought was hilarious really is funny, or whether the stanza that you found intensely moving brings a tear to their eye too.
  2. It allows you to connect and share with others. Writing can often be lonely; so it’s great to get together with others and discuss your work. Who knows, you might even meet someone who you can collaborate with or who might further your writing career.
  3. It can be great fun! Even if you are afraid of speaking in public, performing your work could be the push you are looking for to up your game as a poet. Sometimes, being outside your comfort zone works wonders!

Finally, here are four tips that you might find helpful if you do take the plunge:

  1. Choose your poems carefully. They must be easy to speak aloud as you don’t want to stumble over difficult words. And they should cover a range of styles and emotions to make the programme interesting.
  2. Engage with your audience – make eye contact. If possible know your work by heart and refer to your notes as little as possible.
  3. Speak clearly and at a good speed. Don’t mumble or gabble.
  4. Bring your poems to life by using appropriate facial expressions and body language. Vary your tone of voice to match the emotions of your poems.

OK, so not all of you are going to want to be stand-ups – but I hope I’ve whetted your appetite. It might just tempt you to jump in there next time you see an opportunity to perform your poetry.

My guest next week is Susan Stephenson who’ll be talking about the benefits of writing for a niche market. In this case, jazz music!



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About The Author: Diana Nadin

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