Valentine Pierce sent me a link to an upcoming event next weekend at the Bywater branch library. I think her workshop is invaluable for writers, poets who want to learn and improve on their performances. 17 Poets! has been running open mics since 2003, and Dave and I have heard too-many-to-count performances over the years during the open mic section that have varied from stunning to painful. Delivery and execution is a skill, and it's part of the process of completing the actual work of writing the poem. There are some really common sense tools that even seasoned readers often forget to employ that would make their readings more engaging.
Pictured: Valentine Pierce, 2005, reading at the 17 Poets! recording for the PBS News Hours with Jim Lehrer
During the Summer Writing Program at Naropa University, Bobbie Louise Hawkins would give a talk every year to students about stage performance. It was a wonderful compedium of tips and tactics that she learned in her many years as a performer and as an audience member at Naropa.
I can remember our first open mic night back in 2003 at the Gold Mine Saloon. We had just a handful of participants that came out for that first venture, but we did have an interesting character come in and strip down to his birthday suit in order to recite. Dave tactfully pointed out that we don't have a license in the Quarter for that kind of performance, and the young man put his underwear on and preceded to sing some quite lovely English ballads. I think his nudity had something to do with the pastoral. But case in point, know where your reading and how your performance will go over before you disrobe.
Valentine's Blog is under places to look: Backpocketpoet. Her book Geometry of the Heart was published by Portals Press.
Special Poetry Event Funded by Poets & Writers, Inc.
N.O. Public Library
913 Alvar St, New Orleans, LA 70117
May 1, 12 - 2 p.m.
Valentine Pierce presents "Stand Up, Look Up, Speak Up: How to Present Your Poetry in Public"
Poets are encouraged to bring a poem for reading.
Reading is limited to 12 poets/1 poem (2–4 minutes in length).
Please call 504.596-2667 by April 26, 2010 to sign-up.
17 Poets! Reading Series in New Orleans
Visit the 17 Poets! Literary and Performance Series site for upcoming readings in New Orleans.