On reading poetry out loud in a public place!

April 12, 2012

The very best poetry readings are where you manage to discover something about your own work while in the act of reading; that is, you forget the notion of performance while performing.  Happened to me on Tuesday at The Gods, where I found a pun lurking in one poem that I had not previously noticed, and had to swallow an inappropriate laugh.  (They do breed like rats just released onto a Pacific island in my work, it must be said. Puns, that is.)  I also enjoy the response of the audience.  A good turn up it was too, for Melinda Smith, Russell Erwin and myself.

he's not that blurry in real life

Melinda Smith, P.S. Cottier, Geoff Page

I wore a Vogon poetry shirt, as a little reminder that if it didn’t go well, there are definitely worse poets out there, somewhere in the universe.  But it did go well, and some very intelligent questions were asked of the three readers after the readings.  You can see Melinda answering one being put to her by Geoff Page in the last photo, while I try and disappear behind the microphone. (Russell was there too, but out of shot. He’s the one in the striped top above.)

Reading one’s work is fun, as is discovering the work of others in their own voices.  Melinda’s tart, elegant and poignant poetry, Russell’s dive-in and discover expansive explorations, and whatever it is that I write made for a varied menu. I managed to put in a plug for humorous poetry, too, during the questions.  And people were laughing during parts of the reading, and I think in a good way.

Now back to the serious, beret-ed business of writing some more poetry, having scuttled out into a public place for a couple of hours.

6 Responses to “On reading poetry out loud in a public place!”

  1. Congrats! Reading is always super exhilarating.

  2. It sounds as though you read last … how did you find the wait to read?

  3. marydanae said

    Go Penelope! I love reading poetry to a crowd but it can be hugely anxiety-making too. Helps if the crowd is warm and supportive. There’s nothing like their reaction – laughter or a moved silence… Just stopping by to thank you for your support of Tuesday Poem this past year – it’s been fantastic having you on board over in Oz. More please this year (-: Mary & Claire

    • pscottier said

      You’ll see from my new post of April 17th that I found writing the line for the Tuesday Poem birthday piece a tad difficult, but I really enjoyed being involved in this and in the whole project. I certainly intend to do more this year! Cheers M & C.

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