I e-mailed seven colleagues some questions and asked that, if they have the time, please e-mail me back. Of the seven, five got back to me. They were Benjamin Weissman who conducts the reading series at the Hammer Museum in Westwood, Diane Leslie who has been hosting events at Dutton’s Brentwood for over twenty years, and Jawanza Dumisani who runs the reading series at the World Stage in Leimert Park. I also offered anonymity to the respondents, and two asked to remain anonymous.
Your reading begins before your reading.
--A well planned reading should be seamless,” said Jawanza Dumasani. “The reader should know what there reading and the order. They should engage the audience with eye contact as they move through the reading. They might share short comments relative to whats being read. I go through my readings in the mirror several days.”
--Don’t want to work with nervous authors who need to be comforted.
--Another good recipe: Solo reading 40 minutes, duos 25 each, cinco 10 min each, like that. How long should an entire event last, including Q and A? 80 sounds good, more or less.
--Many years ago, writer John Rechy gave me some good advice: tell the audience how long you’ll be reading for. The worst thing to hear at a reading: “My next poem is...”
--Last tip: Several of the coordinator said, WRITE WELL. Your work will be the foundation of your reading so, make sure your work is amazing.