Whether you’re new to poetry open mics or a seasoned pro, it can still give you butterflies at the idea of standing up in front of a crowd and sharing your poetry. It can be a very vulnerable experience to share your work with someone in such a public format. You’re not only putting forth your poetry, but your performance as well.
Here are some quick tips for mastering your poetry open mic performance!
Know Your Words, But Don’t Over Practice
Nothing is worse than when a poet is on a roll, giving an awesome performance, and then they get lost in their words and have to stop to correct themselves. It breaks up the performance and brings the audience out of the flow the poet created.
So read over your poem several times, practice parts that you have trouble with. But draw the line at practicing so much your performance is robotic. If you’re rushing to get through your performance and looking like you just want to be done with the entire experience, the audience might lose interest. Find a way to keep your poetry fresh while ensuring that you don’t stumble over your words.
If You Make a Mistake, Keep Going
It happens to us all. We’re completely prepared, the performance is going well, then all of a sudden, we screw up a word or a phrase. The good news is that it’s most likely the audience won’t realize you made a mistake. Beyond that, stopping and correcting yourself will only draw more attention to the mistake. If you misspeak, ignore it and keep reading your poem. It’s the best way to deal with this flub.
Choose the Right Poem for the Right Audience
You might have an amazing poem about a sexual awakening. But if there are young children in the audience, you can rest assured their parents won’t appreciate it. Additionally, if your poetry has swearing, this can also be an issue at family-friendly venues. Make sure you know the rules of the venue before you perform. If there is a theme for the open mic, it’s always great to read a poem that relates to the theme. Of course, this is never mandatory.