Performance poetry practice prompts

These are prompts I’ve developed by working in classrooms and coaching poets on ways to practice poems.

Pace related:

read every other line

as fast as you can

take a full breath after each line

start fast, go slow, end fast

perform with your eyes closed

start slow, build to a climax

read along with someone

perform to a beat


Gesture related:

perform on one leg

perform while dancing

perform like you’re a chicken

perform with your back to the team

perform sitting on the ground


Tone related:

to the tune of happy birthday

perform like a rapper

read with an animal sound at the end of every line

read like a sportscaster

with the tone of a salesperson