5 Reasons To Go To a Poetry Reading



Poetry is emotional, intellectual, spiritual, and often visceral when read aloud. Poetry open mics are a chance to express complex emotions like love, anger, grief, and sadness. Whether you plan to share your own work or just enjoy someone else’s, open mics are a great opportunity to share the emotions that make us human.

1. Experience a poet’s personality and creativity in real time.

Live poetry gives the audience a chance to experience a poem in the author’s voice. The poet’s unique inflection and cadence can give insights into their thoughts and feelings that words on a page cannot. Poets also have a chance to play with literary techniques like rhyme, meter, assonance and consonance in real time.

2. Engage with a poet during their live performance.

Unlike more traditional performances, poetry readings often encourage an active audience, meaning the audience has a chance to listen and engage with the poet. Snaps and vocal responses are great ways to show your connection to the poetry or poet and amp up the energy in the room. Read the room—many poetry readings are a place to enjoy out loud.

3. Meet fellow readers and writers.

As much as we all enjoy reading, it can become an isolating activity. Poetry readings are a great place to meet people who love poetry as much as you do. Whether you’d like to make friends, form a writer’s group, or just trade some favorite poems, open mics are a chance to get social through poetry. Plus—poets often sell collections or other merchandise at poetry readings. Take this opportunity to discover new poems and support budding writers.

4. Get feedback on your own work.

Open mics are also an opportunity for poets to get feedback on their work. By reading out loud, writers can see which lines resonate with their audience. From there, it’s easy to tweak the wordplay and meter for a poem so that it feels as rhythmic on the page as it does out loud.

5. Competition.

Writers can turn up the heat and go head-to-head in a poetry slam. If you’re into heart-pounding poetry and a friendly-competition, poetry slams are for you. In a typical poetry slam, performances are under five minutes long and scored from 1–10. A poet is eliminated each round, and finalists deliver a fresh poem each round until only one remains. Though it sounds cutthroat, poetry slams are usually constructive and a great incentive for writing new and better poems every week.

If you're looking to expand your poetry experience, a poetry reading might just be the extra poetry fix you need. By speaking out loud, poets can manipulate the pace, volume, and intensity of their poem for a heart-pounding, tear-jerking, or even laugh-out-loud response. Whether you’re looking to make new friends or discover new work, a poetry reading is sure to be a truly captivating experience.