Attend a Poetry Reading
Poetry readings have been occurring for decades around the world in universities, bookstores, cafes, corner pubs, and coffeehouses.
How might I find a poetry reading?
There are many ways to find a poetry reading in your area. If you don’t know where to begin, visit the National Poetry Map on poets.org, click on the state you reside, scroll down to "Literary organizations & centers" and "Reading series, conferences, & literary festivals". Browse the links and any event listings at the bottom of the page to find information about possible events.
You might check with your local bookstore or coffeehouse to see if they host readings or other poetry programming. Larger cities tend to offer "poetry calendars" on the web like the National Events Calendar on Poets.org. Generally, colleges and universities host academic-based lecture/reading series throughout the academic school year.
Do I need to be a poet to attend a poetry reading?
No! Everybody can attend poetry readings. Some events even allow you to bring your dog.
What might I expect at a poetry reading?
Each reading is unique, whether the poets are emerging or established, one never knows what to expect. You might be surprised or be emotionally challenged or laugh in fits.
What's the difference between a poetry reading and a poetry slam?
Basically, a poetry reading is reading for listening pleasure and a poetry slam is a contest either judged by a panel or by the audience to find one victorious poet.
What if poetry readings do not occur in my area?
Start your own reading series that would be hosted at a bookstore, coffeehouse, or community center once a month. You can also listen to recordings from events from your computer.
Last words of advice: go attend a poetry reading, try it alone, try it with friends. But, please remember to turn off all mechanical devices, such as pagers and cell phones.