Saturday 4 May 2024

A few quick tips for poetry performance

 Performance poetry tip for schools: think of your body being in a box. For some lines, the box is tall and thin, sometimes it's small and square, sometimes the box is huge. Your hands and legs (gestures and movements) reach the edges depending on what's right for the line or word

You can express the rhythm of a poem in any part of your body or in all of it. It could be just your eyebrows, or fingers or how you sway your whole body. Try to make the rhythm of the words help the rhythm of your body, as if the words can push or pull.

Remember that your voice is a musical instrument: it can go up and down, loud and soft, spikey (staccato), smooth and slide. It can make rhythms rather than tunes. In groups we can combine these, some doing rhythm, some bass, some melody. You can take a phrase from a poem (eg the chorus) and by repeating it quietly you have a rhythm and bass over which you can say a poem.

As one example (sorry it's me!): when I do 'Bear Hunt' (see YouTube) notice I do big, I do small, I do mouth-rhythms, I use my arms and body for rhythm, I do faces, I go fast, I go slow. One or some or any of these you can use for any part of the poems you perform.