How to Read Poetry Aloud
Which word is not mentioned?
Hi, I'm Heather Kamins for About.com, and I'm here to talk to you about how to read poetry aloud.One of the wonderful things about poetry is the sounds that words make -- and reading a poem out loud for an audience is a great way to bring the poem to life for them. Whether you're reading at a casual open mic or a more formal reading, it's good to be organized. So decide on the poems ahead of time, if you can, and put them in order. If you're working from a printed book, you can place tabs or sticky notes on the pages, and number those tabs.Practice reading your poems ahead of time if you can. If there's a time limit, time yourself beforehand so you don't go over your allotted time. As you practice, think about the meaning of the words in the poem, and how you can support the meaning through the way that you read it. Also, think about the rhythm of the poem. If your poem has a fixed rhythm such as iambic pentameter -- for instance, Shakespeare's line, "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?" can sound a little mechanical if you emphasize the stresses too much. :Shall I comPARE thee TO a SUMmer's DAY" sounds kind of robotic.It's natural to have a little stage fright when you get up to read in front of a group of people, and the nerves can sometimes speed you up, so try to slow yourself down, take your time, take deep breaths and try to enjoy yourself. An in-person reading also gives you the opportunity to really connect with your audience, so make sure you do that. Get up on stage, introduce yourself, and thank people at the end for coming out.Don't get buried in your pages; make sure to make eye contact with people. Most of all, remember that the more you connect with the poem, the more your audiences is going to connect with it. So try to stay in the moment. Focus on the words, the meanings, the sounds themselves. And just try to enjoy yourself!Thanks for watching. To learn more, visit us on the web at About.com.