my version of #3: the poet goes to take a drink of water and accidentally throws it all over him/herself

I have done that three times. My life is just one scene from "Airplane" after another...
Below are my top five warning signs that a reading might get into trouble.

1. Hair awry — you end up being transfixed throughout the reading by the constant dance between hand, hair lock/s, and head toss.

2. When the poet talks about how little time he/she has, it is a sure sign they will run over. “Just six more,” they say, as if to reassure us.

3. The throat clearing that presages multiple water gulps throughout the reading; exacerbated by water being placed in an inconvenient spot so the poet has to disappear from view (behind lectern) to retrieve it.

4. The unprepared reader — papers all over the place, multiple copies of books toppling off the podium, which leads to a painful running commentary on the progress in finding the next poem, or worse, an awful embarrassed silence during the frantic search for the poem.

5. Poetry voice — why, when it comes to reading poetry aloud, do so many poets adopt a pseudo-religious incantatory voice that actually serves to flatten the meaning into a single-toned chant that numbs the senses and the mind?

- Fiona McCrae, guest blogging at the FSG Blog. Read the whole thing here.


daniela elza said...

my observations as well. although I am yet to see you spill water on yourself.

the one that bugs me the most, is the apolo-geez
that pre-seed the poetry reading.
the best way to turn off an audience, or at least this listener.

Rob Taylor said...

Yes, nothing fires up a crowd like telling them how underwhelming the show is going to be...

Zachariah Wells said...

Excellent stuff.

How I will make a million dollars: a t-shirt with the following:

"My drinking team has a poetry problem."

Don't steal it now.

Rob Taylor said...

I want 10%.