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Reading for pleasure: Reading for Pleasure

Reading for Pleasure

Reading for Pleasure

We are working to make the reading environment for enrichment all can enjoy.

  1. You may have noticed we have worked on creating a display for some Marvels; feel free to enjoy some four-color fun in between classes and place them back in the racks for the next reader.
  2. We will change our main display's themes to bring you a fresh look at modern books. We currently have our winter warmers to help fight the chill, and soon, we will move on. 
  3. Review wall. Further down the page, we have a template for book reviews. Print them off and fill them in; alternatively, type into them and send them to and we will print them off for displays.
  4. Art book. People design the covers of the book they want to write. They can create the jacket and the blurb. Get templates of typical paperback dimensions and spines, possibly a publisher.


Reading for Speaking

We found some tips and hints that will help give presentations and performances.

You can also Book our study spaces with some friends. Practice your presentations for class and conferences within the comfort of the LRC.


8 Top Tips For Performance Poets

Posted on March 10, 2010, November 9, 2015, Author rbrotherdash 14 Comments

Poet Tips!

I am often asked to advise froup-and-coming poets and writers on how to properly use “the o spoken word” or better themselves as spoken Word (i.e., performance) poets. Below is a short but essential list to get you started.

1. Be True To You!

The best poets speak from an authentic experience or perspective. Don’t try to talk about something you know nothing about or can’t relate to. It will come across as being unauthentic at best and pretentious and self-serving at worst. Poetry is something you feel. It is organic to you; before you can impact others, it must be true to you first.

2. Have Something To Say

Here’s a little secret. I don't particularly care for most poetry slams and many open mics. Why? Often, the poets focus too much on shock or catering to the lowest common denominator. I don’t care about your real or made-up sexual exploits, manufactured anger, or assorted proclivities. The audience asks, “How does what you say relate to my life?” How are you empowering me or shining a light on society? How are you celebrating beauty or art? How are you reminding me of our humanity or our inhumanity to others? Your poetry should be something of value o,r at the very least,t not something of a detriment.

3. Respect and Know Your Audience

“Everything ain’t for everybody,” as the saying goes. Know your audience. Does the poem contain a lot of phrases or language that no one in the audience will understand or relate to? Are there a bunch of children in the audience or people whose first language is not the poem's language? Also…Respect your audience! The pI don’t frequent many poetry venues because I can only take but so many gratuitous uses of profanity, odes to past lovers (real or imagined,d), or obscenities under the guise of “a.”. I am not anti-profanity in a poem. Sometimes that is the “most real” and most appropriate way to relate the truth of a particular piece for some people. As a rule, I never use profanity in my poetry…ever. But most poets use profanity simply for shock value, usually due to a lack of creativity. Can’t think of a sophisticated word?…okay, “f this.” Can’t create genuine emotion and genuine anger in a piece?…okay, “bleep you.” I don’t consider respecting the audience. People are giving you their eyes and ears.  Respect that. Don’t vomit on the mic. Most people who like good poetry don’t care for gratuitous foul language. It’s the nature of the medium…it’s a higher art form.

4. Take Poetry Seriously

If you take a lazy approach to the art form, it will become amateurish at best and boring and annoying at worst. If you care about your work, the audience will care about you enough to listen to what you have to say. It will also help you to have a professional look at your performance. Look at top singers and rappers, and you will see vast differences between them and those in your typical talent show. Even if there are onlyfive5 people in the audience (and since you are a PO, et that will be the case on many occasions,s), be professional and hone your craft. Study poetry. Read poetry. Look at performances of slam poets (though I don’t often care for their “poetry” of them, their energy is a clinic on good performance) and practice. Practice in a mirror. Look at how you move (or don’t move). Think of what you do as a craft and become a craftswoman or craftsman.

5. Slow Down!

You can improve your performance by ten by simply speaking slower. It’s not a race to the finish line. Poetry is not like listening to music,c where you can sort of veg out a bit and just “groove to the vibe.”. Poetry audiences need to understand what you are saying. There is no vegging out. YOU ARE THE MUSIC! So take your time and also pause appropriately. There’s nothing like a strategically placed pause that allows the thought just completed to marinate a bit. Most performance poets spit out their words too quickly,y and you lose people when you do that or cause them to WORK TOO HARD to keep up with the NASCAR driver of Spoken Word.

6. Under three is Key!

3 minutes! That should be your time limit. People have a relatively short attention span when it comes to performances. This isn’t the 1970s, where you can have a 12-minute song. This isn’t Jazz, where the quartet will perform one piece for like 22 minutes, where everyone gets a solo. Even I won’t listen to a 12-minute poem! Most of my poems are in that 3-minute range. Because I am an exceptionally energetic and rhythmic po, I can get away with an occasional piece that approaches the length of a modern pop song (4 mins). If you stay under 3 minutes,s you maintain the audience’s attention, and you don’t start to bore or annoy people. Note: In Slam poetry, your time limit is 3 minutes, with point deductions coming for every 10 seconds over time.

7. Perform, Perform, Perform!

Spoken Word is PERFORMANCE poetry. This is performance poetry—spoken Word, by its nature, is a part theatrical performance and part monologue. If people wanted someone just to read poetry from a book with no emotion…no “umph,” they could do it themselves. That doesn’t mean you turn into an actor, rapper, singer, or comedian, though all of those elements may appear in your work. It means that you understand that you are bringing the words and feelings to life. But remember the earlier points of being “true to you” so that your performance doesn’t come off as a drama class exercise.

8. Memorize Your Stuff

The most significant technical change I made as a poet was memorizing my stuff. It was so freeing! And since I incorporate a great deal of movement when I perform, it was especially beneficial for me to remember my poetry. I was no longer burdened by holding a piece of paper or standing in front of a podium. But even for people who are less physical on stage, memorizing your poetry does several things that benefit you:

  1. You can see your audience and therefore connect with them.
  2. Connecting with your audience through eye contact allows them to see your emotion better and relate to you.
  3. The paper and the mic stand to create an unwanted barrier between you and the audience.
  4. It removes a “crutch.” You don’t have that paper to fall back on, making you a more vigorous poet.
  5. It removes an obstacle. How often have you seen a poet flub or skip a line because they missed their place?

Brother Dash is the Author of The Donor: When Conception Meets Deception,n whose tagline reads: To keep a secret past  from destroying his perfect li,e the man who “has it all” will be blackmailed into repaying a debt…with his body.” Get freebies on the Brother Dash email list at

Reading Aloud

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Alan D