HOW TO PLAN A POETRY TOUR

HOW TO PLAN A POETRY TOUR



going on tour it's a big deal in the poetry world it's a mark of success it's an opportunity for poets to travel and reach new people with their art and for some it's even a living but when should a poet go on tour and how do you make a tour happen recently I spoke with three poets who had answers to these questions and more first I spoke with Clementine Vaughn radix Clementine is the author of three full-length poetry collections and over the past five years they have toured extensively performing in 49 states and six countries next I spoke with Michael Matthew Magee also known as mighty Mike Magee he has been featured on HBO's Def Poetry Jam CBC radio and television and NPR he has toured the United States Canada and Europe often alongside his friend Shane Khoisan and lastly I spoke with Mugabe Bianca Mugabe is a poet and author his debut novel dear Philomena was published in 2017 and he too has toured internationally the first question I had for these poets was when should a poet go on tour I don't think that there is really a marker of success that says this is when you're ready to go it's when you're most hungry when you are hungry to get on the road you should go Mike explains how different poets have different reasons for going on tour another reason to tour is because you aren't finding your audience at home there is an audience for everyone out there it's just that sometimes you're not lucky enough to actually live in the same city as your audience clementines viewpoint is different they suggest only going on tour when it's profitable a lot of people are really excited about their first tour like I know I was I know that he wanted one to work since it's like big romantic experience it's also if the huge undertaking to plan and schedule a tour it's also expensive to travel I think that you should always tour to make money or at least to break even I don't think you should lose money on your tour no Gabi agrees with Clementine and says that we go on tour is when you have some more work like product you're trying to push because it would be very difficult to go on tour and not have like so for merchandising and it's very hard to sustain the tour if all you're getting is like your future like see because I think Gary and Mugabe is right not all venues pay their features because not all venues charged or fees or fundraise so if you want to go on tour try to put out a book first even if it's just self-published or a homemade shop book next all the poets that I talked to recommended starting out with a short local tour for your first run I would say anyone who wants to try touring hit the road for eight days eight days go out for eight days try to book at least five shows in those eight days that'll give you an excellent taste for the road so let's say you have a book to sell and you're ready to begin planning your tour where to start a good place to start is with the venue's I've toured two separate ways without my agent and those were through having a following on social media and posting that I'm I was seeking to tour so you came to be in these areas on these dates and then getting emails from people who ran venues or college students in those areas in being able to set up a show that way I also booked through coming up through the slam circuit which i think is a really perfect way to build your first tour because a slam show has a built-in audience and so you don't have to get anyone to come into the room you just have to get them to like you once they're in the room which is a much easier thing to do it's also important to research a venue before inquiring about the feature for example you wouldn't want to ask to feature at a venue that focuses on tea necks poets if you are not a lot – unikz poet Clementine puts it perfectly learn about that face and chewie consider whether you think you would be a helpful contribution to it so then how do you book yourself for a show well it's usually fairly straightforward almost every single slam has kind of a specific etiquette to booking the show and that etiquette is listed on your Facebook page or on their website and then my experience following that etiquette is the best and almost only way to get an email back next how do you get the word out about your tour well social media is your greatest ally I think the only things that have worked for me are Jeff hosting about the shows specifically engaging with my audience and engaging with my audience is code for talking to people like their people I also make sure to have all of my dates listed in one place on my website with links to buy tickets earlier Clementine mentioned that touring is expensive and I was really grateful to Mugabe because he revealed some pretty smart ways to cut costs which helped me get a lot of lights of the three train rides and bus ride and like any time traveling where I don't know and then finally we have to talk about the whole reason why you're going on tour in the first place it's to perform poetry and make connections when you go out on tour it's crucial that you have an engaging set prepared and Mike explains how to make that happen you basically have at any given venue 10 to 45 minutes to introduce yourself to a crowd to get them to like you enough to then want to spend money on you that's really what it comes down to so you're saying I have this art that I think is valuable pay for it or don't it's it's entirely up to you but I hope you will because it'll help me continue to put this hour out there so I'll say this definitely I would say for your first few palms give them like the bottom of your top five and save the top two for the very end of the show but never ever ever tell the audience you don't know what to do next don't pull out your phone and tell them that you're not sure like do you guys want to hear this what do you want to hear this like don't give the audience the option and then another thing too is that your personality really shines through in your banter in in the things that you say in between poems remember the audience is one person a really diverse incredibly intersectional human being look at that audience and know they're one person that is really really interested in having a conversation with you and don't be afraid to literally talk to the people in the audience ask the audience questions that's how you're going to really get to know the town you're in the people you're with nothing feels better for an audience then a performer on stage who's really present in the town for that day for that moment for their set who's really into the idea that I'm gonna be a part of you guys tonight so if you're considering going on tour I really hope this video helped if you think I left anything out or if you have any additional questions feel free to leave a comment below and I will do my best to answer thank you so much for watching and I will see you all in the next video

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