Speak Easy! Pt. 4 - Getting Ready

     Well...you've finally found an open mic venue, radio show or been invited to read poetry at your church, that was was the easy part. Now, the real work begins. So, exactly how do you prepare to read or present your work? First, make sure you know the type of audience you will be performing your poetry for. If it's going to be done at a church or family-oriented program, try to find out the theme of the event so that your poem will be appropriate for the atmosphere. Many church audiences are not familiar with poetry and spoken word, so be discerning about what you present to them and make sure the timing is right for what you want to offer. If you have written a piece that contains profanity or anything that could be interpreted as questionable, you can always modify the language for the event without losing the integrity and strength of the poem. Use an online dictionary or thesaurus to find alternate words to convey your thought. Many poets have two versions of their work to suit different audiences or have learned how to change language on the spot, to avoid offending their listeners. This doesn't mean that you cannot write or speak on certain topics, but the timing and presentation has to be right, in order for your words to be received.  The last thing any poet wants is to lose their audience in the middle of a poem. There is no guarantee that some won't be offended, but let the offence come from their own interpretation of what you say, not from your presentation.

     In Part 5, we will talk about etiquette, and some do's and dont's for poetry and spoken word presentation.

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