A poetry reading is a public oral presentation of poetry. This could be a recitation or a performance depending on the author. Poetry readings have become more prevalent in the latter half of the century with more poetry readings being organised and the popularisation of poetry slams. Poetry readings can be organised within poetry clubs in high schools, colleges or universities. They can also be arranged by like-minded people who share a love for poetry. Although poetry readings and poetry slams bear similarities, they are not synonymous. A poetry slam is competitive in nature, while poetry readings are not.

Traditional poetry readings usually take place in a bar or a smaller location. They are usually two hours long with a break at an hour’s mark. A good and well-planned poetry reading is one with a suitable venue, good sound, and a good crowd. Unfortunately, with COVID-19 and social distancing rules, it is challenging to plan a traditional poetry reading. Thankfully, we can offer online poetry readings. If you’re looking to host a poetry reading on zoom, here’s all you need to know.

Hosting a poetry reading on Zoom may sound stressful, but it is quite beneficial for you and your community. In these times poetry readings can help;

  1. Provide a sense of community amongst poetry lovers.
  2. It is a way to ensure regulars in poetry readings continue to be regulars even though we can’t host readings in person.
  3. With the climate around the world, poetry readings could offer a sense of normalcy.
  4. Poetry readings could help foster the spirit of creativity and help people break out of their funk.
  5. An online poetry reading will also encourage people who were previously too introverted or busy to attend an easily accessible zoom call.

Rules of a Poetry Reading

Before hosting a poetry reading, you’ll need to know the rules of hosting one.

  1. Each poet should get 5-9 minutes to present their poems.
  2. There should be a few minutes of break in between the poems. Perhaps one or two minutes.
  3. If you can, organise the poets according to their poems subject matter, so there is some form of cohesion.
  4. Poetry readings should be 2 hours long maximum.
  5. Decide if there’ll be a fee or if the reading will be free to attend.
  6. Do not book too many readers as there may not be enough time.

How to Host a Poetry Reading on Zoom

  1. On Zoom, you’ll need to host a test reading to ensure the readers have mics that work and manageable video quality. This should be sorted out a few days before the poetry reading.
  1. Advertise your poetry reading on blogs and amongst people who would be interested in poetry readings.
  1. Open the Zoom call ten to fifteen minutes earlier so everyone is settled and there is enough time for introductions.
  1. Finally, have fun and enjoy the community and the poems.

If you’d like to learn how to host a poetry slam online read this article for more details. You can find it here.