A little while ago, the lovely humans at Wild Pressed Books asked if I'd do a poetry reading for their new YouTube channel. A couple of days ago, I sat down to record, holding my little poetry pamphlet, Light Perception. The pamphlet is all about visual impairment, disability, and the struggle to appear able. It was not long until I realised the irony of my pretending to be reading aloud from the pamphlet, when in reality, I took a couple of moments to memorise the poems I wanted to read, as I am definitely too blind to read the font in the actual book.
I could have probably read from the book itself if I had held it uncomfortably close to my face. Instead, I had a closer look off-camera, and used the shape of the poem on the page, and the length of each line to act as a prompt to remember the words themselves. I don't know if that makes sense. But it is easier to remember what line comes next when I can see roughly how long it is, and my brain can associate the overall shape of the poem with where the words come.
I've used this 'shape of the poem' prompt before, and it has mostly worked. One time, I had a a complete blank mid way through a poem in front of a room full of people while I was 'pretending' to read out loud. If I wasn't nervous before that performance, I was definitely shaking then!!! The nice thing about video it is that I could just re-record if I forgot what came next!
I spoke about pretending to read in the video itself, because it was only as I was recording it that I realised I had been memorising the poems in preparation before I'd even registered that that meant I was going to pretend to read. I could have had the poem up in large font on my phone, or on the laptop, but I know what a poetry reading video 'should' look like, and I did my best to copy it.
I'm not saying I did it wrong, or even that I'd do it differently. I wanted the people watching to be able to see the book, and especially see the beautiful cover which was designed by Tracey Scott-Townsend. It just got me thinking, and I wanted to share this 'behind the scenes' explanation in case anyone was interested.
You can watch me (sort of) read a poem from Light Perception below, and you can buy a copy from the Wild Pressed Books' website.
Thank you for reading my ramble, and have a great day!