Sunday, July 10, 2011

Set Lists and Audience Takeaways

88º ~ the predicted high? 102º before the heat index is figured, last night, with heat index, we topped out at 109º, a mild breeze helps just a touch, lots & lots of sun, Earnestine & I keep to the indoors

Yesterday, I began planning my set list for the upcoming reading on Tuesday night.  This is one of those one author only readings, so I'll have the podium to myself, which is both an honor and a bit more stressful than a mixed reading.  For those in Central Arkansas, the details are:

Tuesday, July 12th
Laman Library
Lecture Hall
2801 Orange St.
North Little Rock
6:30 p.m.

The library allows for an hour and a half for the reading, but that includes time for Q & A and book signing (books will be for sale, $14 cash or check).  I'm planning for about 35 - 40 minutes of reading, which I think is hitting the limit for poetry, even with a bit of intro & levity between poems.

Picking the reading list has been interesting, given that the audience will be a mix of friends quite familiar with my work and newer friends and those unknown to me who might not have heard me read yet.  I'm going to read 10 poems from Blood Almanac, 10 poems from In a World Made of Such Weather as This, and then 5 poems from Midwest Nursery Tales (the new title for the chapbook).  As most of you know, my poems tend to be short and can be read in a minute or two each.

I'm feeling a bit like an aging rock star with Blood Almanac, so, while I'll read a few of my "hits," I'm going to read a few of the under-exposed poems as well.  Even with In a World Made of Such Weather as This some of the poems have a little age on them and have been read before, so I'm going for a mix there, too.  Only the poems from Midwest Nursery Tales will be brand spanking new.  A bit nervous about that!

Here's the scribbling so far.

After settling on some poems, I thought about what I might offer to the audience in terms of takeaways.  Over the past year, I've collected a few blog posts by other poets who have offered chocolate, handmade bookmarks, photocopied poems, and other items at their readings.  I love this idea and spent quite a while brainstorming on how I might dream up something new.

My best idea can't be done in the time allowed, but I'm ordering what I need so I can do it in the future: Earnestine shaped cookies!

While I couldn't find a kangaroo cookie cutter here in Little Rock and will have to order it online, I did come up with with another pretty good idea, thanks to the help of my lovely man, C.  Not wanting to give away the surprise for those who will attend, I will tell you that it involves scissors, card stock, and glue sticks. Oh, and quite a bit of time, but it's a fun project, so I'm cool with that.  I'll post images on Wednesday for those too far away to attend.

This morning, I did my first practice session, reading the poems through, stumbling a bit on the newer poems and even the older poems that haven't been read out loud much.  It reminds me that PRACTICE is paramount.  Given that this is a solo reading, I really want to do a stellar job for anyone who gives up their Tuesday night to attend.


Tawnysha Greene said...

Good luck at your reading! I know you will do a wonderful job!

Sandy Longhorn said...

Thanks, T.!

Kathleen said...

You will be wonderful, I'm sure! I look forward to the pix of the surprises!

Sandy Longhorn said...

Thanks, K.!

Kristin said...

Wish I could be there. On the night of the reading, I'll read a few of your poems and bake Ernestine cookies, as a solidarity gesture!

Sandy Longhorn said...

Thanks, K!

Martha Silano said...

I'm sure it will be a spellbinding reading, Sandy. I wish I could be there to hear you! And cookies, too: wow. Thanks for the reminder to not read more than 40 mins. tops -- I have a solo-reading myself tomorrow night ... and am trying to figure out when to STOP.

Sandy Longhorn said...

It was a good night, although you'll have to ask the audience about the spellbinding bit. 40 minutes was just right. Good luck, Martha! Wish I could be there.