16 Lessons From A Long Beach State Spoken Word Event

1) Poetry is not concerned with fiction or nonfiction

2) If it’s a good poetry reading there is always one person that stinks, like literally one person that smells really bad, halitosis or otherwise.

3) If the super hip dudes who play bass and drums between sets look like they want to slit their own throats you are not doing well, and you probably shouldn’t read a third time or a fifth time for that matter.

4) College kids often think they’re being profound when they are really just being annoying.

5) Vulnerability is underrated, especially when it comes to pseudo-insensitive males ages 20-25.

6) There is something beautiful about the trembling hand of a reader who is simultaneously spitting on mic with supreme confidence

7) It’s not a joke if there’s no punchline.

8) Maybe don’t use things that you just learned a week ago in your set.

9) Feel the room. They don’t want you to freestyle. I don’t care if we’re in Long Beach. (Unless freestyling is one thing you do.)

10) Poetry is no different–like most good pieces of writing emotional resonance is everything (though yes there’s a lot of other stuff too)

11) Zip up your fly homie.

12) Especially if you’re wearing camo pants.

13) Nobody is born with poet voice, it’s something you learn in college.

14) Keep forcing yourself to share your work. This loving environment and kind audience are both finite.

15) Slow down

16) Breathe

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