1. Woof
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    Woof Contributing Member

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    Poetry Advice for memorising and performing your work?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Woof, May 8, 2015.

    I'm relatively new to performing at open mic nights, and still spend much of my time shuffling paper. It gets in the way of a good performance, I know, so I'm trying to learn my poems by heart now I feel a little more confident. Anyone have any tips, advice, and/or experience that could help? Thanks!
     
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  2. BrianIff
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    BrianIff I'm so piano, a bad punctuator. Contributor

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    Singing it helps. Someone suggested that when I had to memorise a poem. I think it worked.
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2015
  3. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think that's how Leonard Cohen became a most unlikely singing star - 'cos he never could sing.
     
  4. StevieT
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    StevieT New Member

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    I have a lot of experience with open mic nights and I agree with you that it's best to not use any paper at all.

    Basically you just have to recite your poem for 30 minutes a day and gradually do it from the top of your head. That's the only way I found it works, you can do a lot of memorization techniques but I don't like to bother with them because I don't want these to come up when I'm performing. I really want to pour it out of my heart and head. If you can't remember your work during the performance, just create a silence and put your body in a position: it's amazing to see how great a silence can work at any time during a song or a poem.

    For learning it by heart: write down next to each sentence in which ways you can express it.

    For example:

    "She left me for another sucker"

    You could say this angry, sad, relieved, scared. And then practice all of these. Then during your performance you don't think about any of that and be in the moment.

    So starting ahead of time before your performance and practicing it every day will do amazing stuff to your performance. It also gives you that extra boost of confidence if you're able to nail it during practice sessions.

    Hope this helps,
    Steve
     
  5. Woof
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    Woof Contributing Member

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    Thank you!

    Singing eh? I'll give it a go. My neighbours may not be too chuffed though... I'm no singer, and no Leonard Cohen!

    Expression... great idea. I've already started putting small hand gestures and actions to some lines, ones that can take it, but I reckon I could build on that by identifying the emotive... weft, could you call it?

    I've set myself a very generous target of two months before I step up again, so I have plenty of time to practise. Since I first posted I have one ten line poem of iambic tetrameter memorised but not yet fluid. I figure start small is probably important too; no double page prose poetry spreads... yet. :D
     

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