Posts Tagged ‘reading’


A friend of mine who goes to the same writing workshop has set up his own YouTube channel where he performs poetry he has written. Joel is a great young man and a fine spoken word performer too. Have a look and enjoy and maybe be inspired to set up your own YouTube channel. The link is here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCDOr8iz-Zemg4xCRWcY8CyQ/featured

Giving a reading

Posted: February 8, 2015 in Roy Marshall
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Some great tips from Roy Marshall on reading in public.

Roy Marshall

rEADING

This piece is for poets who are going to be reading a set of 10, 15 or 20 minutes, or perhaps longer – the sort of length you might read as a guest poet or at the launch of your pamphlet or book.

I’ve been lucky enough to have given a few of these readings  (although they have been rather sparse lately so if anyone reading this would like me to read, please do get in touch! ) and I’d like to share some of my thoughts.

Of course you will bring your own approach and style to your reading depending on the type of work you write and the type of person you are. Here are some general points and ideas which might be worth considering. I’ve titled this piece ‘Giving a reading’ because you might like to view your reading as a gift to your listeners. Whether they have paid to see you or…

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This is me reading a poem Invictus by William Ernest Henley. I’ve decided to upload a reading as I’m frequently being told I have a very good voice for reading poetry and more. Personally I hate my voice but again this is very common amongst many people, so I have decided to put my voice out there and let the world decide! Follow the link to my Tumblr blog: http://andyqby19.tumblr.com/ to hear my reading.


Today was an amazing day for me. I was invited to Specialist Autism Services, an autism charity based in Bradford, England. I was invited down to talk about my poem ‘My Eyes’ and the subsequent film derived from it made by Courtney Sandifer to some of the students from the creative writing workshop. It was a surreal experience for me answering questions about one of my poems and talking about the story behind it. I’ve never experienced anything like it before and it was humbling for me to have people there who wanted to listen to my words and hearing one of the students read my poem out.

After the reading and the film I read my new poem ‘Ignored’ out and the students then got very creative turning it into a film and a cartoon. It was inspiring for me to see and hear the ideas they came up with just from one of my poems! I felt that they had far more creativity in them than I did and to me they proved it. When the workshop had finished and the students told me that they could not believe they were meeting a real life author and how much they had enjoyed the workshop it really hit home how words and writing have the power to change lives and inspire others.

For the record I don’t consider myself an author. I’m just someone who is able to put his feelings, thoughts and emotions into words that other’s can take something from. This makes it very, very rewarding for me and very worthwhile to keep going and never stop writing.


Last night was another auspicious moment in my poetry experience. I lost my poetry reading virginity! I was very, very nervous as you can imagine, but the evening was made far more relaxing by being held in a small restaurant called the Kava based in Todmorden, West Yorkshire. I had never been to the Kava before but it is a lovely little vegetarian restaurant with a very pleasant and convivial atmosphere, helped by the intimate surroundings.

I went there with two friends, Nuala Robinson and Gaia Holmes. Both Nuala and myself attend a workshop run by Gaia called ‘Igniting the Spark’. The workshop is held every week although we are taking a break for the summer. The workshop is a very friendly environment and achieves what it sets out to do. It has certainly ignited my spark and I am enjoying writing poetry and having my creative side challenged every week by the various activities Gaia sets us. It is the other writers who go to the workshop who also inspire me to write better poetry and without them I would not have come so far in such a short space of time.

In the Kava was another friend who I knew and this helped to settle my nerves knowing that there were people there who had come to support me and the other poets based purely on our performance on the night and nothing else. Gaia was the guest poet and performed several of her amazing poems to a spell bound audience. All of Gaia’s poetry was very well received and she had well deserved rapturous applause at the end of her readings. The compare Anthony then read a poem and after two other poets had performed some outstanding poetry it was my turn to perform.

I got up and very nervously began to read my first poem ‘She Dreams’. All of a sudden my first night nerves had disappeared and I just concentrated on reading my poetry to the best of what I consider to be my limited ability. My next reading was ‘My Eyes’ which is a very personal poem about how I see not being able to read and understand non-verbal communication because of my Asperger’s Syndrome and how I imagine it is for someone else. The last reading was ‘Emily Bronte’s Pen’ which is my interpretation of what it must have been like to be the pen with which Emily Bronte wrote ‘Wuthering Heights’, Every since discovering the Bronte’s and Haworth last year they have held a special place in my heart and every time I visit Haworth Moor or the Bronte Parsonage I feel a tingle down my spine at the thought of walking in the footsteps of literary geniuses who changed the literary world forever with there outstanding poems and novels which have stood the test of time and always will do. At the end of my reading everybody applauded loudly and vigorously, especially my friend Simon who should be a professional applauder! The relief from finishing my very first poetry reading and losing my virginity was immense. All I wanted to do was find a bed and lie down for a very long time! But being 20 miles from home and with other poets still to read I couldn’t lie down anywhere. 

The rest of the poets were equally impressive and I realised how much I have to learn about poetry and I took inspiration from the other poets and their readings. After the event had finished everybody congratulated me on losing my poetry reading virginity and said I was a natural. To hear this gave me a boost to my confidence and has inspired me to carry on writing and reading poetry. Having Asperger’s and suffered from bullying has severely dented my confidence, but I am slowly getting it back through my new found passion.

I cannot thank Gaia Holmes enough for the lovely words she said to me at the end of the night, nor for the owners of the Kava Café who let us have the venue and all of the other poets and people who made it a magical evening for everybody. I got some ideas for a theme for my poetry and I cannot wait to read some poetry again whether it is one of my poor attempts or poetry by one of the greats.