5 Tips for Poetry Performance.

Introduction: Hi, I'm Renée LaTulippe from nowaterriver.com. I'm very pleased to be contributing to the first annual doing life write teleconference with my talk "I'm doing poetry right'.
Poetry is a wonderful art form to be read and performed out loud but too often it's put on a pedestal and fear into the hearts of men. Well I'm here to tell you that poetry is for everyone and everyone can have fun it. This video is for students, teachers and poetry lovers everywhere who want to get out of the chair, their voices and do poetry right. And here are 5 tips to help you do just that.

Tip number 1
Score your poem. Once you've chosen which poem you'd like to do, spend some time with the text, scoring your script. That simply means going through and the words you might want to , jotting down ideas for movement and marking where you might want to speed up, slow down or pause for effect. I sometimes use musical notation for this like crescendo and staccato, but you can use whatever system works best for you. Make choices that are natural for the poem. If you're doing a poem like Jabberwocky or The Raven, you can have a lot more fun exaggerating the movement and voice. If you're doing a simpler more realistic poem, you're going to want to keep your choices natural and realistic as well. Once you're finished scoring your poem, your script is going to look like a big ol mess, like mine for Jabberwocky and that's fine because it looks like a big ol mess means you've just created a for your performance and you're ready to .

Tip number 2
Find your . Often when people get in front of an audience or a camera, the adrenaline kicks in and they start talking a mile a minute. Remember that a poem is a little story and you want to be sure that your understands the beginning the middle and the end. Slowing down will ensure that that happens. One thing to look out for here is how you handle line breaks. Of course poems are written in lines but that doesn't mean you have to pause at the end of every single one. Doing so would result in a very choppy unnatural reading. So save your pauses for where you see the punctuation. Often the poem itself will dictate the pacing. For example look at this clip from the Lake Isle of Industry by WB Yeats.
And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet’s wings.

This poem has a languid yearning feeling behind it which calls for slower more luxurious reading. Finding your pace is also where scoring your poem comes in handy, you've already marked where you might want to speed up slow down or pause for effect so now it's just a matter of following the roadmap you've already created.

Tip number 3
Use good diction. Good diction simply means clear pronunciation of the words, and it is essential for doing poetry right. A poem has limited words in the first place so every single one of them is important. You've no doubt heard the phrase 'Cross your T's and dot your i's', Well is the verbal of that saying. Nervous speakers garble their words or swallow the ends of their sentences which makes it very difficult for an audience to follow them and understand what they're saying. Take a look at this sample from Jabberwocky and notice how I exaggerated the diction for effect.
And, as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!
One, two! One, two! And through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.

In that clip you could hear every K, S and D at the ends of the words. Clearly you don't need to go quite so far when you're doing a realistic poem like the lake Isle of Ennisfree, but when err on the side of exaggeration.

Tip number 4
Use natural movement. Movement is probably the area that people have the most trouble with, and either do nothing at all, standing very stiff and , or they out every word as in 'I searched the horizon for a ship and low I saw it bouncing across the waves'. Now you probably wouldn't speak that way in a so there's no need to do so in a poem either. The secret is to keep it simple and keep it natural, let the poem inform your movement. Some poems like Jabberwocky lend themselves to more dramatic movement whereas other poems like the Lake Isle of Innisfree require no movement at all. Still others are somewhere in the middle like this children's poem:
But ef my papa goes into the house,
En mamma, she goes in, too,
I just keep still, like a little mouse,
For the moo-cow-moo might moo!
The moo-cow-moo's got a tail like a rope
En it's raveled down where it grows,
En it's just like feeling a piece of soap
All over the moo-cow's nose.

If you still really have absolutely no idea what to do with your hands, the rule of thumb is this: keep your arms bent, elbows relaxed and loose at your sides, hands gently linked. From this position, you're ready to make whenever you need them.

Tip number 5
Be natural and have fun. Yes, there's that word 'natural' again but it's really is the cornerstone of performing . Once you have all these elements together, practicing your poem until it becomes and just flows out naturally. Remember too to have fun with the language because language and sound are what poetry is all about.
And there you have it with a little bit of practice you'll soon be doing your poem justice and doing poetry right. Thank you for joining me and if you'd like to see more examples of poetry readings and performance, please visit me at my poetry video blognowaterriver.com. Bye bye