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A Valuable Tip for Successful Poetry Readings

Good news! Poetry readings are still an effective way to promote your book and connect with your target audience.

If you’re organizing your own reading, here’s a valuable tip from the award winning poetry writer, Marianne Chan, author of All Heathens. Whose poems have appeared in the likes of New England Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, The Cincinnati Review, and West Branch.

In All Heathens, Marianne Chan revisits Magellan’s voyage around the world. It’s an exploration of the Filipino American identity; the relationship to family and notions of diaspora, circumnavigation, and discovery.

Her themes resonated with many Filipino-American writers and readers, and understood poetry readings were one of the most effective ways to niche out and connect with this audience.

One of the many readings she organized was a Filipino-American event at the AWP 2020 with Oliver de la Paz, Jane Henry Gray and other prominent Filipino-American authors. Although it was cancelled in March 2020, pre-recording the reading and the experience organizing it, helped her realize how her book was in conversation with other writers and audiences familiar with the works of Filipino writers.

So if you’re a small press author organizing your own poetry reading, collaborate with authors within your target audience. It will widen your understanding and help deepen the connection.

Chan stresses about the importance of being prepared beforehand no matter how confident you think you are. Be prepared to talk about what the book is about, what your focus is and what themes you’re exploring. This helps readers articulate the book’s social significance even if they couldn’t follow through each and every poem.

Shafeeka Hafeez

Shafeeka Hafeez grew up escaping into a world of books where she discovered a love for writing and a fascination with trees. When she’s not taking up a new marketing skill, or typing out a blog post, you can find her Googling the best therapy for abandoned cats.

July 6, 2022

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