My First Reading

My First Reading

ReadingA few weeks ago I gave my first poetry reading at The Bookworm in Omaha. The New Voices Reading Series is co-sponsored by my university (Creighton) and the University of Nebraska Omaha. I was one of four readers, two in fiction and two in poetry. It was a very positive learning experience. For sure I discovered that as much as I like writing poetry, I probably like reading it even more.

My professor gave me the best advice, and I think it could apply to our lives in general. After giving me a little tutorial on how to arrange my poems and how to practice for the reading she said, “Just be sure to read your own poems in the same way you read someone else’s.” What she meant was that I shouldn’t be embarrassed to read my own poems out loud with passion and energy, the way I read, for example, Elizabeth Bishop’s “An Invitation to Miss Marianne Moore.”

I love nothing more than to throw myself into the out loud reading of a really great poem. But she was right that when I read my own poems in workshop I don’t do it with the same kind of confidence. Making that one switch in my brain is one of the reasons I felt like my first reading was successful. No one wanted to feel me apologizing. They came to hear some poems. So I read them some. And it was really fun.


5 Replies to “My First Reading”

  1. So true! I’m sure it could apply in any profession or hobby but for sure in public performance whether it be speaking or reading or singing — if you’re uncomfortable, I’m uncomfortable. No one likes that.

    Way to be brave and give them the best of you!

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