Readers Respond to “Seek the Best Place for a Poetry Reading”



Alan Summers writes:


Good article!

Selling and shifting books can be notoriously difficult in many venues. We’ve all done open mic and guest poet slots but the make up of the event can rarely be conducive to book sales.

I remember one person consistently hijacking my guest poet slot by giving long monologues during Q&A about herself and projects. Suffice it to say I sold no books that day.

I always look to specific venues to give maximum access to the general public whether local or regional or further afield but sometimes to the cost of book sales simply because the venue management doesn’t cater for a table presentation where the author or editor can sign books.

This time around I am making it a priority to include as many table/signing/Q&A spaces to accompany the talk or reading.

Of course there are wonderful exceptions such as this week I addressed two hundred and seventeen first year BA students (my organiser gave me the specific number) on contemporary haiku. But then for forty minutes work I did earn £120, a raise on last year.
When not selling books I have read or performed in noodle bars, nightclubs, a bordello, on the street outside the Watershed Media Centre, Bristol, as part of a multi-media Watershed event, the Royal Festival Hall, London, and Trafalgar Square as part of Antony Gormley’s Fourth Plinth One and Other Project, which was incredible.

Make your venues special and easy to get to, and when selling books, as Charlotte says, make it a different type of specific.

Great article!

warm regards,





Paul Beech writes:


Here in the UK, we have many regular poetry venues where, even if not invited to do a guest spot, we may read at an “open mic”. There are also festivals and one-off fundraising events.



On Monday, for example, my partner Maureen and I both read at an event at Birkenhead Central Library, part of the Wirral Libraries Poetry Week 2016, where we met a most charming older couple heavily into art and poetry, who bought my book ‘Twin Dakotas’ and Maureen’s latest ‘Midnight Robin’ and invited us to head over their way sometime. An excellent bit of networking.



And twelve months ago, Maureen and I did a joint guest spot on Vintage Radio’s Poetry Roundup, which is due to rerun this morning and evening, Saturday, which we’re both chuffed about of course.



Really, the essential thing for us is to avoid taking on so many readings that we’ve no time left to actually write and send work out. So yes, we need to be wise over where we read too, and seek discriminating audiences where possible.



Thank you, Charlotte, for this most interesting and instructive post.



My very best,




About Charlotte Digregorio

I publish books. I have marketed and/or published 55 titles. These books are sold in 46 countries to bookstores, libraries, universities, professional organizations, government agencies, and book clubs. I am also the author of five non-fiction books: Haiku and Senryu: A Simple Guide for All; Everything You Need to Know About Nursing Homes; You Can Be A Columnist; Beginners' Guide to Writing & Selling Quality Features; and Your Original Personal Ad. The first four books have been adopted as supplemental texts at universities throughout the U.S., Canada, India, Pakistan, and Catalonia. They are sold in 43 countries, and are displayed in major metropolitan cultural centers. These books have been reviewed, recommended, and praised by hundreds of critics, librarians, and professors worldwide. I am also the author of a poetry collection: "Shadows of Seasons: Selected Haiku and Senryu." Two of my books have been Featured Selections of Writer's Digest Book Club. I am regularly interviewed by major print, radio, and television organizations throughout the U.S. I have signed books at libraries, chain bookstores, and university bookstores. I was recently nominated for a Pushcart Prize in poetry. I have won thirty-three poetry awards. I have been nominated and listed in "The International Authors and Writers Who's Who" in Cambridge, England and in the "Who's Who In Writers, Editors & Poets U.S./Canada." I am an internationally-published haiku, senryu, tanka, kyoka, haibun, free verse, acrostic, cinquain, etheree, and sestina poet. My poetry has been translated into six languages, and I have done poetry readings at a variety of bookstores, libraries, art centers, cafes, tea houses, and galleries. My poetry has been displayed at supermarkets, art galleries, libraries, apparel and wine shops, banks, botanic gardens, restaurants, and on public transit. I've been interviewed on cable television about my poetry. I also hosted my own radio program, "Poetry Beat," on public broadcasting. My poetry has been featured on several library web sites including those of Shreve Memorial Library in Louisiana and Cornell University's Mann Library. My background includes positions as a feature editor and columnist at daily newspapers and as a magazine editor. I have been a public relations director for a non-profit organization. I was also self-employed as a communications/public relations/marketing consultant with 111 clients in 16 states. In other professional areas, I have been on university faculties, teaching French, Italian, and Writing. I regularly give special lectures and workshops on publishing, journalism, publicity, poetry, and creativity to business and professional groups, and to those at writer's conferences, universities, literary festivals, non-profit organizations, and to libraries. I have been a writer-in-residence at universities. There have been about 400 articles written about me in the media. I have served on the Boards of writers and publishers organizations. My positions have included Board Secretary of the Northwest Association of Book Publishers. I served for five years as Midwest Regional Coordinator of The Haiku Society of America. Currently, I am Second Vice President of the Haiku Society.
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