3) A poetry recital should be a performance. Most poets read their poems in front of an audience as if they were lecturing to a group of college students. This betrays two illusions. The first is that the poetry audience is the same as a classroom of captives. The second is that the audience must indulge the poet, rather than the poet showing sufficient respect for the audience to entertain it.
4) A poem should be recited to an audience before it is ever published. This should be a part of the poet’s method of composition and revision. Our modern practice is exactly the reverse: to publish a book of poems and then read them aloud, generally for the first time, to an audience. Is it any wonder that so many poets are so dreadful?
- The editors of the Contemporary Poetry Review, in a blog post written after attending this year's AWP conference. You can read the whole post here.
p.s. The CPR editors posted a follow-up, further expanding on their "advice", here.