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Open Mic : Poetic Asides • Writing Forum | WritersDigest.com

Open Mic

Network with other poets, including fans of Robert Lee Brewer's Poetic Asides blog.
Jakuu21
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Open Mic

Postby Jakuu21 » Mon Dec 13, 2010 12:36 pm

As a young poet i have entertained the thought of open mic reading. Does anyone have an experience with it? Did you find it opens doors networking wise? Good things? Bad things? Feel free to share whatever experience you had.

fireflydarkness
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Re: Open Mic

Postby fireflydarkness » Thu Jan 26, 2012 10:43 pm

I can't say enough good things about Open Mics. I've grown up with them, as my parents are musicians. I started performing at the venues where they played music (99% of the time, I was the only poet among classical musicians) and then branched out to poetry slams and the like. To this day, I prefer an open mic to a poetry slam or any form of poetic competition. There's no pressure to "beat" anyone, and, most of the time, the crowd is very attentive because they haven't already sat through ten other people performing poetry. The atmosphere forces you to go big or go home, because it's more than likely that you'll have to talk over someone who had too much to drink, or people talking right in front of you. I loved open mics when I was just getting started in performance poetry, and I love them now. Definitely go for it.

foodpoet
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Re: Open Mic

Postby foodpoet » Fri Jan 27, 2012 8:37 am

I attend one (actually I am co host) of a reading in northern Virginia. I would not be writing today if I had not started attending the reading in 1995. When the orginal host left my friend and I took over. Good venues are hard to lose and this one is now over 20 years and running.

So look for open mics and for poetry reading venues. When first starting I recommend looking for a low key reading where no critiques are offered. And unless you are competitive initially avoid particiapting in slam poetry mics. I love attending them but they can be scary to participate.

Once you are comfertable with open mics you might also want to consider critque groups also.

Any good sources for finding venues. In my area some are posted on the state poetry society so you may want to google your state and poetry society and or poetry reading/open mics.

Good luck.

Qwertyportne
 

Re: Open Mic

Postby Qwertyportne » Wed Feb 22, 2012 11:53 am

Like others have said, "Go for it!" Nothing will kick start your life as a poet better than taking your poetry to strangers and the raw immediacy of an open mic--the best critique you'll ever get.

My career as a technical writer taught me to target my words to people with very specific skills and knowledge. When I began writing poetry, I reveled in the freedom of not having to write for anyone but myself - they were my participles, and I'd dangle them if I wanted to! My experience at open mic venues, recitals, poetry groups and web forums changed all that. Suddenly, I had an audience with rules for liking or not liking my poetry.

One of the first "rules" I noticed was that the audience responded more enthusiastically to poets who performed their poetry than they did to poets who just stood there reading it. None of the singers or musicians had a piece of paper up there--they knew the lyrics and the notes to their songs and music.

So rehearse your poem aloud. Let it take you where it wants to go. Let it rehearse you in other words. Then, during your performance, give it all back to your listeners. Convey all the adventure and surprise you packed into your poem with gusto and zest. Move around, look into their eyes, whisper, shout, lean forward, turn suddenly--all those things you learned during rehearsal as if the audience were already there. For now they are.

But don't let your face, voice and gestures (histrionics) detract from your poem, as poets are prone to do at slams. If your poem isn't powerful enough to speak for itself, your antics up there at the mic will be a poor substitute for a well-crafted, thoroughly rehearsed poem. Below is a list of things I learned at open mics. Some you will find valuable and some not. Meanwhile, here's the poem I perform at open mic events when the situation calls for it:

You find the list and sign
take a seat and sit
re-rehearse your lines
then sweat a bit--
wired on midnight black espresso.

You hear your name
feel your knees
stumble to the stage
fumble with the mic.

You mumble through your first two lines
then stop and realize--
those hungry eyes:

"Step aside,
your poem, not you,
our Disney ride."


List of Things to Consider

Introduce your piece with brief, personal, entertaining comments.
Do stuff that appeals to the ear, connects with the audience.
Speak slowly, pronounce clearly, and maintain eye contact.
Tell with feeling and sincerity, not with monotones or histrionics.
Let face, voice and gestures enhance, not detract from the piece
Do entertaining, energetic, exciting pieces early in the program.
Do quiet, thoughtful, layered, passionate stuff later in the evening.
Do short stories for children, and longer stories for adults.
Do it from your head and heart, not from a piece of paper.
Select poems and stories that touch your head and heart
If you are not enthusiastic about your piece, they won’t be either.
Use uni-directional mike & place speakers closer to audience than you
Keep a straight line between mouth, mike and point of eye contact
Speak over, not into the mike to avoid popping P's and hissing S's
Keep clip-ons below chin, middle of shoulders for consistent volume.
Wear cotton clothes & leather or neoprene-soles to reduce static.
Remove any dangling jewelry that may bump against the mike.
Use a wireless, true-diversity, clip-on mike so you can move around
Or a wireless headset mike, which allows more freedom of movement
Get beyond self consciousness--it's about them, not you

Hope some of this helps. Let us know how it goes...

--Bill

qweeta
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Re: Open Mic

Postby qweeta » Sat Jan 10, 2015 12:53 pm

Nice poem. I was wondering whether you put "loosing" instead of "losing" on purpose :geek:
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