From Page to Stage: The Art of Public Reading

David Gonzelez and participants from From Page to Stage: The Art of Public Reading

David Gonzelez and participants from From Page to Stage: The Art of Public Reading

In the recent Poetry Barn workshop “From Page to Stage” taught by David Gonzalez I was taken on a journey. From shouting expletives to critiques of poetic delivery this workshop was key in combating my stage fright. The tenants of David Gonzalez’s method is truly one of inclusivity. The idea that space and the performed word both have unifying qualities was central to my experience. We began the workshop in a circle, performing different vowel exercises, synchronized beats and movements, ending with the recitations of our own poems.

But the most powerful moment came when I stood in a circle and stared at each one of my fellow workshoppers in turn. In each one of their eyes confronting the anxiety of what they might be thinking, and then realizing that what was actually being confronted were my own insecurities. Ultimately, the techniques I learned in this workshop will dictate my performance of poetry for the rest of my life.

I will now think of performance as a communal act, one that takes my poetry and leaves it in the hands of the audience. I will no longer feel possessive of my work but think of my performances as the audiences and deliver it in a way that is respectful of that reciprocity. Truly this is a workshop that advanced my ability as a creator. I cannot thank David Gonzalez enough for sharing his talent and knowledge with us.

—Ryan Clinesmith