So, I recently had my senior reading and chose to do poetry. It was pretty cool, if I do say so myself. It got me thinking about the performative aspects of poetry. When reading poetry out loud, it can completely change the poem, something that doesn’t happen in stories or essays. Poetry being read aloud is a very different experience from being read from the page. The poet controls exactly how the reader hears the poem, which brings up the issue of authorial intent. Usually, I hold the belief that authorial intent doesn’t mean anything. If the poet/writer cannot convey what they wish, then they are failing in a sense. It’s fine for readers to get different readings than intended from poems (something I myself often do with other people’s poetry), and since the poet usually isn’t there when a reader reads the poem, they can’t explain the intent. However, in readings/performance, poets can explain what they intended, which can end up stepping on the poem’s freeness and the listener’s interpretation. But when the poet is performing their poem, they often give background information on the poem, what they mean for it to mean, etc. Performing poetry also plays with the form. Not all read-aloud poetry is slam poetry, but people may think so. And by being read aloud, sometimes the messages and emotions may be magnified.