How To Attend A Poetry Reading

I’ve been invited to a poetry reading this Saturday. It’s my good friend Jennifer Joseph’s coming-out-party for her new book, Speeding In Reverse.

The poetry will be fantastic, of that I’m sure.

I’m so excited for this I’ve peed my pants three times just thinking of it. I’ll probably have to wear adult diapers the night of the event.

You see, I’m not invited to very many poetry readings (perhaps it’s the overalls and Shetland-Pony-on-a-leash).

So I’m pretty nervous about going and I hope I do okay.

I’m not worried about what to wear. That’s easy. I’ll go dressed as Kahlil Gibran, one of my favorite poets:

Because as everyone says, Every Party Wants To Be A Costume Party. To which my answer is: WHERE’S MY MUSTACHE?

So I’ve got the costume down. But what do I do after each poem is read? I’ve heard sometimes audiences will snap instead of clap. Dang, what if I clap when people are snapping or snap in a clapping audience? Also, I’m terrible at snapping. I’ll look the fool!

I’d better start practicing my snap ASAP. Can anyone help me? ANYONE?

Also, do I bring a gift? I hear wine and cheese is a popular gift. But some poetry people are snobs. Perhaps I shouldn’t bring my good old reliant gift basket of wine coolers and Velveeta.

Miniature Wine. They’re so small. One won’t hurt. Or five. Or seven. Or eight.

 Or *urp* nine. Or . . . where was I?

Velveeta. Cheese done up right! ‘Merican style!

Maybe I’ll upgrade and bring her some of those nice Kraft Cheese Cubes. And some wine in big bottles. No one could turn up their nose at that.

No matter with the trivialities. I’ll do my best to fit in and pretend I’m cultured. I’ll have fun bragging about this experience for the next ten years. And NO, of course I won’t stuff my pockets with extra food. Unless she’s serving cupcakes. I’m helpless against them.

And I’ll get to enjoy some darn good poetry. Here’s a taste her talent:

kiss me

by Jennifer Joseph

kiss me one more time before i give him my heart.

i’ve already slipped from your fingers so make this

last one count. it’s not that i didn’t want

you, but sneaking glances isn’t enough to keep me.

i’ll think of you fondly even though you left me

cold. maybe i loved you a little, maybe a lot.

i have to be careful to keep things separate;

make sure your lips don’t affect me.

i can’t trust what you’re feeling; you’ll disappear

again, break my will again. touch me gently. don’t

leave marks because this can’t last. i knew you

were wrong in so many ways but as it often happens,

the brain points to the heart and says, “i’m with

stupid”. don’t tell me what you’re thinking because

i won’t hold up if you say you still care. i’m

drawn in by your mystery but i’ll be trapped with

the truth.

january smiles

i want to sing you a morning lullaby

after a night spent foolishly.

let’s recreate this moment a thousand times;

you are the reason for my january smiles.

Tell me, kind readers.

How do I fit in at a poetry reading?

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  1. Oh how wonderful, enjoy the reading, Ellie. Your friend’s poetry is great! I hope there’s one around here soon, I haven’t been to one yet either.

  2. Nice poetry and enjoy the reading. Wine and cheese sound just right.

  3. As soon as I saw “poetry reading” the words “Dr. Seuss hat and roller skates” sprang to mind. I don’t think you can ever go wrong with a red-and-white striped stovepipe and wheeled shoes. I hope you’ll consider it. And also: great post :)

    • EllieAnn

       /  June 21, 2012

      Man, now you’re giving me major doubts about my Gibran costume. You’re totally right. Striped stovepipe hats and roller skates are always a big hit!

  4. Jennifer Joseph

     /  June 21, 2012

    You may want to wear something with deep pockets because there will be cupcakes. :)

    Thank you for sharing my poetry. Can’t wait to see you this Saturday!

    • EllieAnn

       /  June 21, 2012

      I’m thrilled to be there! I’ll be the one that looks Lebanese.

  5. I can’t give you any advice, because I laughed so hard at your post I pee’d my own pants and I should excuse myself now and deal with it.

    • EllieAnn

       /  June 21, 2012

      I know how you feel. Sigh. Sometimes it feels like I’ll never grow up.

  6. Oh, wish I could come. I sometimes hold poetry cafes for my students. We give snapplause.

    Also…maybe squeeze cheese?

    • EllieAnn

       /  June 21, 2012

      Mmm. Squeeze cheese. What an excellent idea!

    • Jennifer Joseph

       /  June 21, 2012

      It would be so awesome if you were here, Leanne! The bf is taking pics so you can look at those and pretend you were. :)

  7. This says, well, everything about me, but I think mini Fuzzy Navels and a slab of Velveeta sounds pretty darn classy. I’d be your friend at that party!

    • EllieAnn

       /  June 21, 2012

      We’d the the ones in the corner, nodding our head and pretending we understand the poetry.

  8. Beautiful and hilarious, Ellie Ann. You’ve mastered that unique combo. ;)

    I’m guessing that your simply showing up will be all it takes for success. Poets are a friendly bunch. If you have trouble hearing, cup your hands around you ears. If you get the munchies, buy those cupcakes. Can’t wait to hear about it.

    PS Morning lullaby—love that!

    • EllieAnn

       /  June 21, 2012

      thanks for the tips! I’m sure it will be a great evening and I’ll be welcomed in. =)

  9. Congrats to Jennifer! I haven’t been to a poetry reading in ages. Most of the ones I attended, the poet was already drunk, LOL. Yep, I’m talking about YOU, Seamus Heaney…

    I think a nice BOX wine would suit the occasion, Ellie! You know, the kind with the little pull-out spout? And a funky hat is a must. :)

    Have fun,

  10. You have the coolest life. Have fun at the poetry reading and make sure to get a snap of you dressed as Khalil. Your friend’s poetry is lovely!

  11. I’m voting for the velveeta and wine coolers. You can come to my poetry readings anytime. :D

    I love the poetry too. I love “the brain points to the heart and says, “i’m with

    stupid”. ” Yep, been there.

  12. I’d say “don’t just attend, take part.”

    Whatever that means.


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