- AT THE POETRY CENTER
- K12 EDUCATION
- AWARDS & RESIDENCIES
- GET INVOLVED
Two factors contribute to the quality of your student performance:
#1: Energy - your voice energy should be coming from your gut and be physically pushed out to the audience.
#2: Close attention to the text - You have to listen to the text as you speak it.
When you listen to the text, you are in the moment. Do NOT ask your students to memorize the delivery of the performance; it won't be honest or believable. The performance shouldn't be exactly the same each time. Rather, by listening to themselves in the moment, they will respond organically and discover the poem anew each time.
When you are doing a close reading with the text, make sure you don't ask them to generalize the mood of the poem. A generalized mood will make for a generalized performance. Instead, take the poem line by line, figure out what the most important words are in each sentence and how they should be spoken.
Sarah Kortemeier is a poet and teaching artist in Tucson, AZ. She led an hour-long Poetry Performance session at our Poetry Out Loud professional development workshop.