Interpreting a poem orally is not a theatrical performance: you are telling a story, not acting a play. A strong performance will rely on a powerful internalization of the poem rather than distracting dramatic gestures. You represent the poem’s voice, not a character’s.
- Do not act out the poem. Too much dramatization distracts from the language of the poem. Movement or accents must not detract from the poem’s voice.
- Have confidence that your poem is strong enough to communicate without a physical illustration. Let the words of the poem do the work.
- Occasional gestures might be appropriate, but if uncertain, leave them out: rely on your words!
- Don't be monotone, but don't be over-enthusiastic: be sincere and embody the words.
As usual, here are some great video examples:
- Stanley Andrew Jackson “Writ on the Steps of -Puerto Rican Harlem” by Gregory Corso
- Madison Niermeyer “I Am Waiting” by Lawrence Ferlinghetti