If you're going to recite a poem (your own or otherwise) you should have a working knowledge of what it means. In the case of your own work, you should have an idea of what it means to you. The words should take precedence in your performance, and you should be able to voice them in a way that helps the audience to understand the poem better. To do this, you must effectively use intonation, emphasis, tone, and style of delivery.
- Understand the poem fully.
- Pay attention to all messages, meanings, allusions, irony, tones of voice, and other nuances in your poem, which the audience should be able to feel and experience.
- Be sure you know the meaning of every word and line in your poem.
- Is it a quiet poem? Is it a boisterous poem? Should it be read more quickly or slowly, with a happy or mournful tone? Your interpretation will be different for each poem, and it is a crucial element of your performance.
- Jackson Hille “Forgetfulness” by Billy Collins
- William Farley “Danse Russe” by William Carlos Williams