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How to read poetry out loud

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from wikiHow - The How to Manual That You Can Edit
"A word is dead/ When it is said,/ Some say./ I say/ It just begins to live/ That day."- Emily Dickinson

It's a safe bet that, if you like the arts or take English or writing classes, you'll be called upon to recite or read a poem. This guide will aid you in doing just that.

Steps Edit

  1. In the days (or even just minutes, in some classes) leading up to the recitation or reading, practice. First, read the poem and quiz yourself on it until you know it by heart. Practice it as often as you can.
  2. Prepare yourself for the actual presentation. Drink a glass of water before hand to moisten your throat for the reading. If you have a fear of public speaking, try breathing exercises to calm yourself. Practice once or twice before you make your presentation. Make sure you can recite your poem perfectly.
  3. Recite or read the poem. Don't read like a robot, put emotion into your project! Depending on the situation, you can glitz it up and use inflection or movement to make a point.
  4. After you're done, get another sip or two of water, and calm down. It's over, you did great. If you think you didn't perform well, you have more motivation for next time. But it's nothing to stress about any longer.

Tips Edit

  • Don't think of it as just something for a show or project, think of it was a future conversation piece or a trick for calming babies.
  • Make sure you know where the breaks and punctuation are in the poem. Also make sure you know how to read it. Is is sing-song or gravely serious?
  • What is your goal? Do you want it to be recognized as a very hysterical poem? Read it hysterical! Just think about your goal.

Warnings Edit

  • This isn't a guide to help stage fright. This isn't for writing poetry. This is simply a guide on how to read it properly.
  • Don't read like a robot! Nothing messes up a great poem like someone reading it like they've never practiced or never use emotion.
  • Remember that some poems naturally have pauses in the middle of lines and not necessarily at the end of each line - watch out, especially in modern poetry, for when the lines flow into each other (known as "Enjambment"). Read the poem first to find where the natural pauses are. For example:

"She loved you. Some mornings you found/ she'd left a good gold star by your name" would be read as "She loved you. Some mornings you found she left a good gold star by your name" rather than "she loved you. Some mornings you found. She'd left a good gold star by your name." The fact its on another line makes no difference.

  • Poems, especially modern poems, can have grammar in them other than commas. If there is a full stop, or question mark or pause, try saying the line as if you would say it in a normal way. You wouldn't glance over a full stop or comma in speech; likewise, its odd to not use intonation when asking a question!

See also Edit


Article provided by wikiHow, a wiki how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on "How to Read Poetry out Loud". All content on wikiHow can be shared under a {"http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.5 Creative Commons license].

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