I can’t believe I’m nearly at the end of my 20 week mentoring journey with the wonderful young writers at Didcot Girls’ School!
But it ain’t over till it’s over, and today’s session may be one of our best …why?
…because today the writers will hold in their hands and feast their eyes on their published anthology, for the first time.
Holding your crafted words in physical form, in hard copy, in ink on paper, is a moment of almost indescribable emotion for any writer. It can often become a landmark moment that changes the course of the future for that one writer. And that is the reason why I wanted to publish these talented writers’ work, at the end of this mentoring programme.
And the proof, as they say, is in the pudding, so here’s a taster:
(Please note, poems are copyright of Halle Kennedy, 2018 ©)
There are moments in reading this when the world stands still.
We are all justifiably proud of this anthology. It offers up powerful and compelling voices throughout, captured in provocative and original form.
As well as being their publishing debut, it’s my debut as Editor, and it’s been an absolute pleasure to work one-to-one with the writers in editing. When it came to putting all the work together I was a bit like that kid in the sweet-shop. The work is strong and holds its own on every page but it was exciting to see new threads emerge as I started to put poems side-to-side and back-to-back.
Excitement is mounting for our anthology launch event, taking place next week, on June 13th. I know that the experience of reading their work aloud, in front of people closest to them, who most likely have never heard ANY of their writing before, is a huge challenge.
Another emotional leap. Another first.
So in today’s session we start our launch preparation with some of my top tips for performing your poetry. Much of this has been gleaned from my 25+ years’ experience of performance, so I think it will come in handy for our young poets, many of whom will be first-time performers.
Here are my ‘top tips’ for performance. I hope they are useful for you, too.
Take away Task/ Elaine’s Top Tips for Performance
At home, rehearse out loud. Use the copy you’ll read from on the day. Do this once a day every day before the event. Know those lines.
Before you read:
Bring a water bottle
Go to the toilet (!)
When it’s your turn to read:
Accept your nerves. They are there to help your body perform to its best.
When you get to the front, take a moment. This is your time. Establish your presence. Feel the earth under you.
Throw your voice. Aim to hit the back wall.
Always introduce yourself by saying your name before you read.
Read slowly. You can’t read poetry too slowly.
Respect your line breaks & stanza breaks. Give them pause.
Look up at the audience frequently, by skimming the tops of their heads with your eyes. You don’t have to look them in the eye. This will help them to connect with you and your words.
Read from the heart, feeling your words. Then the audience will feel them too.
Enjoy it. This is YOUR MOMENT and you’ve earned it.