January 25th, 2014 / 4:42 pm
Behind the Scenes & Craft Notes

Advice on How to Deliver a Kick Ass Poetry Reading


Rauan — boils it down


[ …people keep coming up to me and saying things like “Rauan, I’m a brilliant writer but I don’t do well in front of an audience. Help me, Please…”

….and so, because, well, I just can’t not help people (it’s my calling, god damnit) I’ve spent weeks in my lab cooking up some wisdom for all you brilliant fucking writers…  so, here, enjoy ]


1) Less is more

2) Just be yourself. Especially if you’re an asshole, then totally be yourself because audiences love assholes.  But if you’re boring then do not be yourself. Absolutely, do not be yourself. (remember, it’s a show, man. yeah, it’s a  show). (sigh).

3) Be in love with the sound of your voice. Fuck #1 (“More is more.” … “and more…and more…and more…”).. Really, just read and read and just keep on reading. If you see people yawning, don’t worry, people are like dogs, they yawn when they’re learning something new and incredible. Just read. And read. And read.

yawning dog

learning from yr brilliant poetry

4) Grab your dick or cunt a lot, point at it a lot, dance around the stage, hopping up and down, howling and moaning like a monkey– but remember, the whole time, to keep your dick or cunt dead center in the audience’s eye. This works great in Brooklyn. And by extension then (of course) everywhere else.

5) After every 3rd or 4th poem pause for a few moments (I mean drag it out…milk the moment) and then confide, to the dying audience, off-hand and smug as you can, that “yes, indeed, that was a nod to Charles Simic.” (Also, bring a bottle with you and in the middle of yr reading sit down and command the audience (yes, they love taking orders) to sit in a circle around you…

…And then everyone should just make out because, making out is the only reason anyone shows up at little shindig Poetry Readings anyways. Blah, blah…) …stare into poetry’s soul… blah, blah


nod to this guy over and over and over and over …. (blah, blah, ….) …..

6) Sail mumbling autistic through the reading portion of the evening (no biggie, really) and on, gloriously, into the Q & A where you can then triumphantly and whiningly bitch about any negative reviews you’ve received. Don’t answer their questions of course. Just bitch.

7) Drink lots of water beforehand and then sail out over the audience like a God and piss on them. (for added effect eat lots of asparagus). (…huh? … I used the word “sail” twice here?? Well, sue me god damn it).


ideal poetry reading

an ideal poetry reading


and, as always, glad I could help



  1. Janey Smith

      Regarding 1) yes; 2) yes; 3) no–please refer to #1; 4) grab other people’s dicks and cunts too; 5) no–please refer to #1; 6) no–please refer to #1; 7) yes–please refer to #2

      See you Saturday, February 8, asshole: https://www.facebook.com/events/198744336982621/

  2. Rauan Klassnik

      that’s “Mr. Asshole” plz (or, sometimes, “Miss Asshole”) … and, yeah, San Francisco i can feel you already on my lips and thighs,…