Reading Poetry Live
Tuesday evening I had a personal first. I attended a Portland poets’ reading night (Alberta St. Public House, Tuesdays 7pm) and signed up to read my work. There were about forty people in attendance that stayed the whole night through, and there were twenty slots available for poets who wished to read. Each poet was allotted seven minutes.
Initially, I did not know what to expect of the quality of their work, and more importantly, their content! My repertoire is so varied, I was completely unsure what to read. Another question I had was how to read. Were they going to really perform their pieces?? I was glad I took the last slot, and would be last. I was worried that no one would stay for my reading…
I made some friends quickly and kept some lively conversation going with different groups around the room. We met in a tavern, and the majority of them had the appearance of being well lubricated. Since they met weekly, they were very friendly with each other, and already chatty.
I listened to the readings on the topics of: God, sex, love, homelessness, spousal abuse, school corruption, and Cairo. I was truly surprised at the ability of this group to produce pretty unique verse from pretty predictable topics. I reflected on my own work, and realized I was just as guilty as the next person when it came to inspiration! In other words, I read:
She Brings False Flowers
I Want Your Feeling , and
I hadn’t planned on being able to read all of the above poetry, but I had up to seven minutes, and not one poet read only one poem. I thought the grouping I brought was diverse enough that there would be something in there for any crowd. And the crowd itself was diverse, as I mentioned.
The overall experience was fantastic.
* I really had to examine my work for validity before I brought it into public.
* I gained confidence in my writing, as many approached me after the event to let me know they enjoyed the reading.
* I met some very interesting people, too – some talented people, as well.
* I am encouraged to write more and better for the next time I go read. The group meets weekly, but I don’t have to read weekly. However, it’s nice knowing there is quality to be heard, and live hands to shake.
I would have to recommend live reading for everyone who is ready for the next level of experience in their writing.
It is truly possible to breathe life into the words.