Tag Archives: poetry readings

In the Words of Poets- Why Poetry Readings?

Why poetry readings? We gleaned some answers from poets we interviewed for our, 10 Questions Interview Series .

472“After a year of touring, I actually started to feel more confident reading my poems to an audience.  With confidence, I believe my “reading” performance has been enhanced.  I have come to the conclusion that there are poems that are “page” poems and “audience” poems.  To elaborate, “page” poems are more complicated and/or heady poems and are meant for a reader to read and re-read slowly, calmly, and in the confines of solitude.  “Audience” poems are those poems that are more musical and/or narrative in nature, which make it easier for the listener to follow, as you read with rhythm, feeling, proper breathing, and annunciation.  By reading and re-reading poems aloud, you learn how to accent the poem where you want the listener to really hear and feel what you are reading. “– Diane Sahms-Guarnieri – Philadelphia, Pa.

Jack Veasey“Largely that they enable you to finish the act of communication. If you write because you have things to say, that’s essential. Otherwise, you’re just talking to yourself. As far as getting reactions and feedback go – that really isn’t the reason you do it. And you have to be happy with it by your own standards regardless of whatever reaction it gets, or doesn’t get. You don’t do it for the reaction, but you do create the work, most of the time, in order to be able to share it. Then it’s out of your hands.”- Jack Veasey, Hummelstown, Pa.

kimmika“I perform because I have to! The poetry keeps me alive. It demands to be written and it demands to be heard…I’m just the vehicle. I’ve always said, if I couldn’t be a poet, I would probably be a preacher. I don’t know. I see the world this way…as poetry, and songs and stories. My first language is poetry. I write because if I didn’t I don’t know if I would be able to breathe. And I guess I perform for the same reason I still pray…everybody has got to have something to believe in!”- Kimmika Williams Witherspoon, Philadelphia

jane“I’m glad to speak the poems and hear how they sound in a larger auditory space rather than mumbled in front of the computer screen, but I’m always nervous. Some of my poems have visual quirks that can’t be relayed.” – Jane Lewty, Amsterdam, Netherlands

stephen-page-in-front-of-wheat-photo“Reading aloud to an audience is a public event, a gift shared with more than one person in linear time.  I discovered by reading my own stuff aloud, especially while I practiced reading aloud to myself, I caught the glitches in the lines, the skips in the meter, the loss of the music I thought was there.  Thus, by reading aloud, or preparing to read aloud, I was better able to edit my work.” – Stephen Page- Buenos Aires, Argentina

va 1“In fact I love doing live readings. It gives you an opportunity to connect with the pulse of your readers. Gives you instant feedback about your work and the joy of seeing your words settle in people’s hearts. The experience is quite matchless! I’ve had youngsters approach me with endearing trepidation after my readings asking if they could keep in touch with me…I’ve had older, established poets come forth and comment on what they see as strengths in my poetry. These are all the delightful fall outs of live readings! Also, when you read live, you portray not just your work but the entire ethos to which you belong. The way you dress, the way you carry yourself and the way you interact with fellow poets also helps to convey your sensibilities as a poet. It’s a wholesome experience that goes beyond the scope of mere words”. – Vinita Agrawl, Mumbai India

john dorsey“I travel constantly. As far as how important it is, that really depends on why you’re out there. Do you want to sell books? Are you attempting to build lifelong friendships? Unless you have really bad social anxiety, I think everyone should try to get out there. I myself need the book sales to eat more often than not, but the friendships that I’ve made outweigh $10 here, $20 there  or some silly idea of fame, when 99 percent of people could care less about poetry anyway.” – John Dorsey, Cleveland, Ohio

linda-nemec-foster-2“Let’s be honest:  being a poet can be a lonely profession.  The creating, crafting, and revising of poems demand concentration, time, energy, and discipline.  For me, it is very important to “get out into the world” and share my work with audiences on a regular basis.  Some poets don’t like to give readings and/or are not very good at public presentations.  I’ve heard some famous poets give awkward, poor readings and some relatively unknown poets give wonderful readings.  The bottom line is that a poem should be strong on the page and in the voice.  After all, poetry started as a purely oral tradition long before the invention of paper, the letterpress, or the laptop.” Linda Nemec Foster, Michigan

thad 4“I’m usually able to make a connection. I remember reciting a piece on the top deck of a boat on the way from Hong Kong to Lama Island. Two people were listening, one from Australia and one from England. We were just lying there in the warm air. I was interrupted by our cruise host, but after the host left, the Englishwoman said to me, “Do the rest of it. I want to hear how it ends.” – Thaddeus Rutkowski, New York

Kristina 124 (1)“I have been writing since I was a young girl. Reading my work aloud, however, is something I have only done in the last eight to ten years. At first, I was very reluctant to stand up in front of an audience and read. I prefer the quiet, solitary process of writing. But, at some point, I realized that my poems needed to be heard. I had something to say and, even if it only reached one person, I needed to say it.” –Kristina Moriconi- Montgomery County, Pa.

Robert Milby 7 “I enjoy reading in states outside of my home state, New York. Performance is vital.  To paraphrase the great Harry Chapin:  “You must seduce the audience over and over.” It is important to keep the crowds’ interest.  A poet can connect with his or her audience in many ways. It is up to the novice and/or younger poet to go to readings and study the poet onstage.  Take notes if need be.” Robet Milby, Hudson Valley New York


This Summer in Fox Chase

June 20th–  1pm to Midnight- 20 Wheat Beers of Summer Festival In the Outdoor Biergarten of The Blue Ox Bistro.$4.00 drafts and $4.00 eats all day!

June 27th @ 2pm- Amy Ouzoonian and Amy King at 3 Sisters Corner Café

July 14th @ 7pm- 2nd Tuesdays Poetry Open Mic at The Blue Ox Bistro

July 25th @ 2pm- Vincent Quatroche and Timothy Gager at 3 Sisters Corner Café

August 11th @ 7pm- 2nd Tuesdays Poetry Open Mic at The Blue Ox Bistro

September – Release of the Autumn/Winter 2009 edition of The Fox Chase Review

–         Our editor advised this edition is shaping up as the strongest edition yet with a solid line up of Featured and Guest Poets. 

If you are in the Fox Chase area of Philadelphia please remember to support our venues. 3 Sisters Corner Café at the corner of Barnes and Loney Streets offers a great breakfast and lunch menu with outstanding hot and cold drinks. The Blue Ox Bistro has an outstanding menu, beer specials and a great atmosphere. If you take the R-8 Septa local to Fox Chase to visit the Bistro, The Blue Ox will pay your train fare! Visit them on line at www.blueoxbistro.com 

Other points of interest: 

Ryerss Museum and Library 

The Pennypack Environmental Center 

The Fox Chase Farm

Photographs of Pennypack Park in Fox Chase, you can view as a set or slideshow 

Pennypack Park in Fox Chase- 1 

Pennypack Park in Fox Chase- 2

Enjoy the summer!

What we are working on

  1. The special May edition of The Fox Chase Review featuring the Center City Poets will be published shortly.
  2. The Fox Chase Reading Series @ 3 Sisters Corner Café sponsored by The Fox Chase Review and The Mad Poets Society lineup for 2010 is almost completed. 2010 will offer dynamic poets for our audience and the Features will be published in the Autumn/Winter Edition of The Fox Chase Review
  3. The 2nd Tuesdays Poetry Open Mic at The Blue Ox Bistro is proving to be a blast with many voices reading in the Open Mic format. So come out and join us on May 12th at 7pm. To sign up early email foxchasereadingseries@yahoo.com
  4. The Center City Poets Workshop will read at 3 Sisters Corner Café on May 16th at 2pm. Come out and listen to these voices in the poetry world.

May Poetry Events in Fox Chase





Mark your calendars for two excellent events in Fox Chase on May 12th and May 16th








The Fox Chase Review and The Blue Ox Bistro


The Fox Chase Reading Series

2nd Tuesdays Poetry Open Mic


May 12,  2009

7pm to 9pm

Host: Diane Sahms-Guarnieri


Please join us for the “2nd Tuesdays Poetry Open Mic” at The


 Blue Ox Bistro located at Rhawn St. and Oxford Ave in the Fox Chase Section of Philadelphia. Come early to sign up and enjoy the great atmosphere of The Blue Ox Bistro, excellent menu and ten rotating drafts on tap.  Sign up early for the open mic by emailing us at foxchasereadingseries@yahoo.com



The Fox Chase Review


The Fox Chase Reading Series

Center City Poets 2nd Annual Reading


Featured Readers: Eileen Moeller, Rafi Lev

Diane Sahms-Guarnieri, Cheryl Grady Mercier

Elizabeth Quigley, Walt Feldman and Paul Selbst

May 16th at 2pm


3 Sisters Corner Cafe

Corner of Barnes and Loney Streets

Fox Chase Section

Philadelphia, Pa. 19111



Transportation: Our venues are located one block from the Septa Fox Chase Station. The station is 15 minutes from Market East Station via the R-8 in Center City. The Fox Chase Bus Loop also services the 18 and 24

Philadelphia Inquirer on Philly Poetry Scene

Philly poetry scene offers variety of venues for verse

Photos from 2nd Tuesdays Poetry Open Mic at The Blue Ox

A good time was had by all.