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All You Really Need to Know About Poetry Reading Etiquette You Can Learn From Rosie

You know that book All I Really Need to Know I Learned In Kindergarten?  Well, it’s true.  Especially where poetry readings are concerned.  But kindergarten was a long freakin’ time ago.  So, here’s a little refresher for you:

1.  Don’t speak when others are speaking.  Yay for you! You’ve memorized every word of every line of every Billy Collins poem ever! Congratulations–you have just been given an STFU Award!  Hey–guess what, loser? We’re not here to hear YOU.  Because you’re not famous, you bastard.  Shut the hell up already.  And, yes, whispering is as bad as reading/quoting along, probably worse due to the spittle.  Mouthing is allowed, but creepy.

2.  Don’t pick your nose.  Seriously, don’t. We’re not sitting in traffic.  We’re not old men sitting in our worn out recliners.  We’re in a POETRY READING, for the love of Billy Crystal.  You may not know this, considering you are the nose-picking type and all, but poetry is actually sort of a sophisticated thing.  (Except for Fulghum’s version of “poetry,” whom I can totally make fun of since I’m emulating him.  How do you pronounce Fulghum anyway?  I can’t even type it correctly.  I was going to just write a poem about him, but I couldn’t think of anything that rhymed with his name.)

3. Keep your hands to yourselves. Or, as I like to call this, the “This isn’t a fucking movie theater, so go rent a fucking room” rule.  You do know that the lights are on…right??? And that poetry readings are very quiet.  Like, hush-hush quiet.  You could hear a pin drop.  Your inappropriate smooches? Much louder than a fucking pin drop.

4.  Don’t take things that aren’t yours.  In the world of poetry readings, we call thievery plagiarism. And it’s as serious as your grandmother’s latest bowel movement.  You can be prosecuted for using any of those lyrics you copied down in your secret little notebook while you thought no one was looking.  Rosie sees everything, and she’s also a tattle-tale.  So…burn those pages before you sit down to write your next crappy poem.  By the way, I was tempted to make this the “Who stole my fucking chair while I was in the bathroom” rule, but I didn’t want to be petty.

5.  There’s meaning in simplicity.  Remember Dick? Remember Jane? Remember Dick and Jane running around aimlessly for pages and pages?  Well, we still learned something, didn’t we?  The same goes for those short little “disappointing” poems …what?… You didn’t think anyone heard you sigh?  Oh, I heard you sigh.  Every single time a short poem, or a poem without a three-thousand-syllable word included in it, was read.  Big. Fat. Sigh.  Maybe it takes a more sophisticated mind to realize this, but good things come in {simple} packages.  Ever heard of Emily Dickinson? e.e. cummings?  Gwendolyn Brooks? Wiliam Carlos Williams? Do I need to keep going, douchematron?

Okay, so a few of those rules weren’t actually from the book.  Maybe my kindergarten class was a little less shiny-happy-people-holding-hands than Fulghum’s was.  Still, the intent of my project is the same: It’s meant to see that all of you losers quit making my life a living hell.

Just for kicks, here’s a short poem of my own:

Do you
want to
be left
I do.

See? Brilliance.

p.s. feel free to post these at your next poetry event, as long as you give me (and F-bomb) credit!

One response to “All You Really Need to Know About Poetry Reading Etiquette You Can Learn From Rosie”

  1. Avatar O. K OMOJEFE says:

    what are you saying nigga

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