So you want to learn how to read poetry aloud. Good!
It's likely then you're preparing for a special occasion where you are going to stand in front of others to deliver your chosen verse.
For many people this is terrifying.
They're scared they'll stumble over the words, won't understand what the poem is about and consequently make a complete fool of themselves.
If that is you, relax.
Learning how to read poetry aloud is relatively straightforward and with practice you may even get to enjoy it!
Read your chosen poem through silently several times to familiarize yourself with its core ideas and images.
The more you understand the poem, the more likely your audience will be to understand it.
Allow yourself to see the images
The more strongly you identify with or own the poem the easier it will be for your audience to follow.
Look up any unfamiliar words in an online dictionary for their meaning and pronunciation.
Read the poem quietly aloud to yourself following the guidelines given by the punctuation, listening for its musicality or beat.
If you need them, there are tips for interpreting punctuation here.
American poet, Eve Merriam has inspired countless people all over
Try this poem aloud.
How to Eat a Poem
Don't be polite.
You do not need a knife or a fork or a spoon
For there is no core
Find more about Eve Merriam here.
Read slowly. Allow each word its space. The temptation is to rush. Resist
Once you've 'got the flow', stand up and read the poem aloud authoritatively.
Now that you're more confident 'play' with your delivery, experimenting with vocal variety.
For example, what happens if you stress this word rather than that word?
You can find more about playing with vocal variety here.
Rehearse in front of several friends before going 'live'.
Have them give you feed back on:
Incorporate their feedback and present your poem.
The ability to read poetry aloud is a gift of immense value to your audience because the right poem, read well, expresses with grace and clarity thoughts and feelings that are often difficult to find appropriate words for in ordinary prose.
Would you like to listen to some poems?
(It's me, Susan, reading them.)
Or perhaps you'd like to write your own poem?
It's not as difficult as you may think and you'll have something original and very special to offer.
Find out here how to write a poem in free verse.
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