Here’s what you need to think about:
You would be building a live arts event around non-expert ordinary people of all ages from different walks of life.
You mainly need to be reliable, and then also happy to handle basic publicity and be the anchor person for email or telephone calls for bi- or tri-monthly evening events.
If you’d like to start a venue anywhere on the map below email us now to express your interest. We’ll give you plenty of support.
The most important are to be naturally encouraging, inclusive, tactful, patient and appreciative – as well as the above-mentioned reliability.
The organization of each event takes anything up to 10 hours lead-in time: identifying and emailing readers and listeners, creating the best programme you can out of what you receive, networking and local publicity.
Most start around 7/7.30pm and have a short interval. All the poems will be read by about 9/9.30pm, so not long, but if there’s the chance to mingle and talk afterwards, people may enjoy that as long as the venue doesn’t need to close. There will likely be setting up beforehand, and washing up and chair stacking afterwards.
We meet in bookshops, community halls, offices, libraries, pubs, cafes and people’s own homes. Shops, pubs and cafes will spot the payoff in terms of new customers and good publicity.
An intimate atmosphere, intrusive ambient noise, health and safety considerations, ease for disability, rules on refreshments, size sufficient for up to 35 people sitting in reasonable comfort.
We aim to entertain and delight, leaving literary criticism and analysis to others. This does not of course exclude complex or serious poems.
We are always happiest when we have old, young and all ages in between, both male and female readers, and a good mix of backgrounds. Poetry is for everybody.
We aim for a range of tone. We accept and welcome people’s choices, but do try to ensure that the programme is varied and digestible. Three poems by the same poet, for instance, may be excessive, and long poems or extracts are best avoided.
We introduce readers personally, and also encourage them to talk a little bit about why they have decided to share a particular poem. These two touches are central to the magic of our very simple formula.
We don’t distribute printed copies of the poems. Rather, listeners receive the gifts of them live and direct, person to person. People can find the titles of every poem read on the website.
It is an asset to have a compere who is not the organizer, and has a light, friendly touch. As your compere will become a familiar, reassuring presence, he or she needs to commit to the group.
We are grateful to all who contribute, whether as readers or as good listeners. It adds to a build up of loyalty and fellowship that every established group without exception enjoys.
Our website is inclusive and generous with its links to other poetry projects. It also contains much helpful, interesting information for would be readers.
Word of mouth is effective and sometimes sufficient.
Print off cards and carry them with you giving the venue and website addresses, plus contact details.
Accurately explain the evenings so that people really feel it is for them. Listeners often turn into readers.
Registration on the website will generate the chance to subscribe to our free poem of the week, plus, for you, an email address and telephone number to enter in your venue database. This gives you a real time booking and attendance record which will be invaluable as you gear up for the next reading
Your event will be posted on the website with the address (or without if you prefer, where your own home is the venue), readers’ names and the poet and poem they chose.