First, I have one more reading coming up in Seattle, Thursday April 13th at the It’s About Time Reading Series hosted at the Ballard Library. Start time is 6 pm. I’ll be one of four featured readers and there will be an open mike. I hope you can make it!
Lately I’ve been putting together a lot of readings. How does a poet decide what poems to read in a feature reading? It’s different than an open mike of 3 to 5 minutes where you might want to test out a newer piece of work for reactions. In a longer featured reading it can be helpful to have a theme or an arch to the reading. That gives the audience something to grasp onto, to follow and have a pleasuable experience.
So if you have a full size book you might go by the sections of the book. That is what I like to do and in the place where I talk about the section I can give context and explicit information that then comes through clearer when I read my poems.
One poet I’ve heard read more than once always uses a theme, once it was poems she never read to an audience before, she talked about her vulnerability and risk. Another time it was seasonal poems. So it can be any theme, here are some ideas: mother, relationships, marriage, children, historical, etc…
The best thing is to get creative and think what is your cutting edge to bridge to in this reading. I did one reading that was not from a book and I decided to use vocalization to exagerate my words into song or preauditory sounds. It was one of my favorite readings and the response I got was overwhelming love for being so daring.