I shared my poetry with an audience for the first time at an old-fashioned “poetry reading.”
It was 1991, and there were four of us. We took turns standing behind a music stand where our poems were laid out, and we proceeded to read in our best “serious poet” voices. You know the voice I’m talking about—the one where every line ends in an upward tone and sounds almost like a question?
Wow, have things changed since those days!
Now, in addition to the mainstay of the literary poetry reading, there are raucous open mics and poetry slams all over the country, where people don’t simply read, they “perform.”
They spit, they slam, they rap, they rant. In other words, they use their bodies and voices to give life to their words beyond the written page.
Now, almost twenty years after my first poetry reading, I earn a modest income from touring and performing my poetry to live audiences. No more serious poet voice for me.
Instead, I give expression to my poetry through dramatic and (what I hope are) well-crafted performances.
It’s All Poetry
There’s long been a rift between the "academic," or literary poetry scene and the spoken word scene. Academic poets often dismiss the quality of spoken word poetry, while spoken word aficionados think academic poetry is boring. But, in the final instance, it’s all poetry.
Regardless of what a poem is about or how it’s written, it can be performed in a way that entertains, inspires, or moves audiences.
Read more at poetryNprogress