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March 01, 2011

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Indiana Poet Laureate Norbert Krapf, whom I'll feature in my Monday Muse column next week, has made it his mission to unit poetry and music. He performs his poetry with jazz musicians.

I'm not so sure that the issue of page vs stage is one of snobbery so much as humility. I'd hate the idea of presenting myself to an audience as some sort of celebrity or Poet with a capital P.

You need to have a fairly large ego to perform and it is difficult to hang on to your humility alongside that withut it appearing false.

For me, it isn't about not having the skill to read poetry out loud, either. I've learned to do that, and certainly enjoy recording readings whether of my own poems or those of someone else's.

The other thing is that some poems have a small, intimate voice that would sound ridiculous in a big room. If you happen to write that way you are less likely to want to read publicly.

Having said all of that, I once gave a reading to a fairly small room full of sympathetic listeners (art lovers rather than primarily poetry lovers, it has to be said) and enjoyed it, as they seemed to. The thought of Open Mics or Poetry Slams seems rather daunting to me: competitive, like a wrestling match!

"you need to have a fairly large ego to perform"

Philip - what do you mean by performing? I'm saying that just standing up to read your poems for an audience, whatever the size of the audience or the room, is performing. Are you saying something different? Best, Nic

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"After You've Gone"
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