The Open Mic

Our regular readings involve an open mic section. We do not write down names in advance, poets sign up for slots when they arrive at the venue. Slots are 5 minutes in length and those 5 minutes are yours to do whatever you please with (as long as it’s legal of course!)

Here are some useful tips for the Tongues and Grooves website:

  • Always choose a poem that will hold people’s attention. IF YOUR POEM GOES OVER THE PAGE IT’S TOO LONG FOR OPEN MIC.
  • Always include time for any introductions and links. (It’s possible to spend longer on this than your poem!).
  • Always stick to the time. Poems take longer to read out loud than silently. Read your poem out loud at home beforehand – and time yourself.
  • Always memorise as much of your poem as possible. Sincerity is appreciated just as much (if not more) than a ‘performance’.
  • Always arrive early for a practice if you’re unfamiliar with using a microphone.
  • Remember, nobody likes every poet – so don’t feel the need to apologise to the audience. However, be kind to them. They should be left wanting to hear you again – rather than wondering when you’re going to stop!
  • Remember, if you stick to time, people will listen. If you stumble over your words, go back to the beginning of that line and read it again.
  • Remember, good poems don’t come easily. Avoid poems written on the back of beer mats, flyers, etc. If you’re serious, take advantage of poetry workshops and courses; read contemporary poets; and subscribe to at least one poetry magazine.
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