Reciting Poetry: Start with Your Physical Presence

Reciting poetry can be scary, exciting, terrifying, and more! Whether it is your own work or the work of a famous mind who lived hundreds of years before you, you still have to learn to carry the words in a way that allows the audience to feel and connect with the material in the same way you do. Key points: Eye contact, body language, and poise. Tips: - Present yourself well and be attentive. Use good posture. - Look confident. - Use eye contact with the entire audience. - Nervous gestures, poor eye contact with the audience, and lack of poise or confidence will make you feel more nervouse. - Relax and be natural. - Most importantly, enjoy your poem—people will notice! The more ease and comfort you feel with the audience, the better engagement will be! Your physical presence, including appropriate body language, confidence, and eye contact—without appearing artificial, is key to make your words have the impact you hope they can have. For reference, I've included three fantastic readings in the video examples above: - Sophia Elena Soberon “Bilingual/Bilingue” by Rhina P. Espaillat - Shawntay A. Henry “Frederick Douglass” by Robert Hayden - William Farley “Danse Russe” by William Carlos Williams

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