How to Read Poetry Aloud: Laura Purdie Salas

Thank you,  Laura Purdie Salas for being today’s guest poetry poster!
Follow Laura on Facebook here
I love poetry! I’ve published more than 100 books, mostly nonfiction, but if I could build a career just out of poetry, I would! I love to write poems, connect kids with poems, share poems with people, get teachers excited about poetry—it’s all great! However, I’m not that great at reading it aloud. That’s sad, because of course poetry is perfect for sharing out loud. When I do school visits, I have a great time doing interactive readings with the kids.
But just me in front or a room?
Me in front of a camera?
Double gulp.
Recently, blogger Renée LaTulippe (best name ever!) at No Water River invited me to record myself reading a poem to share on her blog. I swallowed my pride and did it. And it wasn’t too horrible! My reading wasn’t great, but I have low expectations:>) And it wasn’t as hard or as nerve-wracking as I expected.
So I just did another recording on my iPhone. This is one of my favorite poems from my newest poetry collection, BookSpeak! Poems About Books. When I was a kid, I didn’t even know real live people wrote books. Then as an adult, I figured the writer was the only creator of a book. Now as a writer, I’m amazed by how many smart, creative people it takes to get an idea from a writer’s head to a reader’s hand. This poem is a tribute to some of those people (I still had to leave some out!).
Here’s the video of me reading “This Is the Book.”

I hope you like it. And if you’re nervous about recording yourself doing a reading, take heart. It doesn’t have to be perfect or ultra-professional. It just has to be you. At least, that’s what I’m counting on!
A LEAF CAN BE… (Millbrook Press, 2012)
BOOKSPEAK! (Clarion, 2011) Finalist, 2012 Minnesota Book Award
STAMPEDE! (Clarion, 2009) Finalist, 2010 Minnesota Book Award
and many other books for young readers

Recent Comments

  • Amy Ludwig VanDerwater
    April 14, 2012 - 10:22 am · Reply

    Laura – I think you read aloud beautifully! It is always a treat to hear the writer read a poem, just matching the voice and inflection to the lines helps with my own reading. I am going to link this to your post at TPF too! a.

    • laurasalas
      April 16, 2012 - 10:05 pm · Reply

      Thanks, Amy! I appreciate the kind words. I agree–it’s really fun to hear the poet read his or her own work. Usually it’s quite different from how I thought–well, for free verse anyway. Do you have Poetry Speaks to Children?

  • katie
    April 14, 2012 - 12:05 pm · Reply

    Thanks, Kathy! I’m thrilled that everyone wanted to be a part of it – and I appreciate everyone commenting on all my guest’s posts. Giving them a little lovin’!

  • Janet F.
    April 19, 2012 - 7:14 pm · Reply

    Thank you Laura and Katie. It is wonderful to be able to show students poets reading their own work! I am going to share your book next week, share some poems and then I will let you introduce yourself to the third graders! Thanks to Katie, too. I also like how you added the book and your info at the end! Hope you will do more of these. And thanks to Renee for having so much on her site.

    • laurasalas
      April 19, 2012 - 8:47 pm · Reply

      Thanks, Janet! You know, I never ever volunteered to read my work when I was a kid, and I’m always in awe of the bravery kids show in my school visits and young authors conferences. I always remind the nervous ones that we’re not looking for perfection. And I certainly don’t demonstrate perfection:>)
      I hope your kids like BookSpeak!

  • jane patton
    April 22, 2012 - 6:05 pm · Reply

    Hellooo to Ms. Book Speak from “Stadium Speaks,” (And the Crowd Goes Wild).
    How nice to see and hear you at the same time. I’m thrilled to be in this forthcoming anthology with you and the others.
    If you send me an email, I have a couple of suggestions for your poetry readings.
    Look forward to hearing from you.
    Jane Patton
    San Diego-SCBWI

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