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Make Your Poetry Reading Impossible To Forget


Someone really loving your poems, that’s the best, right?


But someone loving your poems and having your chapbook, and even thinking, ‘Man, that one guy that came through the show a couple of months ago, he was really good…’


I actually got four gigs out of one of the chapbooks I had, a vending machine chapbook that was supposed to be a silly little project. This is just to say that you never know what is going to strike with who.


And having chapbooks, having a product that you can actually give to somebody, that’s a product of your work. Chapbooks are really special because they let people who hear you or experience you in one space actually take a piece of you home with them. Maybe they will even reference it later on down the line.


That networking aspect is really key. Chapbooks don’t necessarily get the same level of prestige as a full-length, but it’s nothing to write off. There’s no reason if you have a feature, you don’t have a chapbook. You could make one for all the poems that you plan on reading, and then sell it afterwards.


It’s valuable just in giving something where people can remember the event by.


And then, on top of that, it’s just another opportunity for people to connect with your work, potentially on a deeper level. A lot of times with readings, I personally do better having the visual and being able to read off the page.


I actually once had this feature in Dayton where I set up my reading as a play. So, the chapbook I made for it acted as this playbill that I could offer, a tool that created a really natural connection between what I was doing on stage and the product that I was selling. It becomes part of the experience. When I leave a play, I have listened and watched, but when I also have the playbill, suddenly it becomes ‘Oh, that’s how I’m going to remember that’s how I’m going to remember the experience of being here.’ I have this as a keepsake.


So I think there’s chapbooks turn your reading into not just a show, but an experience.

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