How to Perform a Poem: Five Steps to Success

by Rhianna Urquhart, Europe Blogger jaBlog!


Performing Poetry - jaBlog!Performing poetry, whether it is your own or someone else’s, is difficult. Whether you have to learn a poem for school or a competition, performing a poem can be a bit overwhelming if you’re not sure what to do. Here are five steps that will show you how to perform a poem and hopefully lead you (and the audience) to a successful performance.

Step 1: Learn the Poem

Whether you need to know the poem off by heart, or you’re going to have it in front of you on the day, learn the poem. It can take a while depending on how quick you pick things up, so don’t try and learn it the night before. Trust me. Having tried it, I know how hard that is to pull off, and it is not worth the stress.

Step 2: Bring a Copy of Your Poem

If you want, print a copy of your poem and put it in a pocket or somewhere where you will have easy access to it. If you forget your words halfway through, you can pull it out and continue reciting the poem as if it were nothing.

Step 3: The Title Deserves to be a Title

Say the title loudly and clearly. Pause. Pause a bit longer. The pause will seem longer to you, because you’re bound to be a little bit nervous, than it will to your audience. Then either begin the poem, or if someone else wrote the poem, say their name slightly quieter. After that, pause again and then begin the poem.

Step 4: Silence Speaks

Find parts in the poem where you can pause and leave a short gap between stanzas. The silence will speak for itself. As long as you don’t pause for a long time, nobody will think you’ve forgotten your words.

Step 5: Enjoy Yourself

Enjoy yourself. Your audience is backing you one hundred percent of the way. They want you to do well. Even if you stumble over a word, keep going. Nobody is going to remember the word; they’re going to remember the way that you said that poem, with confidence and expression and quiet moments in the right places.




3 comments on “How to Perform a Poem: Five Steps to Success

  1. I’d love to be able to perform poems but a) I don’t know anywhere in my area that does it, and b) I have a slight lisp so it makes it hard to get my words out, especially when I’m nervous – a stutter is also in the family genes! I’d love to get better at it, though.

  2. Amna Gillani

    Nice tips but shouldn’t it be ‘your words’ instead of ‘you’re words’ in Step 4…

    • Laura Thomas

      Hi Amna. Thank you for catching that!

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