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Audiences are more real than other poets.

You will generally get more honest feedback from a group of people who have paid to hear you and/or other acts than you will from a group of other poets. Poets as critics usually come in three varieties: ones who don’t want to hurt you because they can feel your pain, ones who have an axe to grind, and the very occasional insightful and tactful critic. Many times other poets will hold back on their criticism because they don’t want to hurt your feelings or because they are afraid of retribution. Others are going to want to make any comments about themselves and their poetry. Or their comments may be about their pet poetic theories. The average person who is the audience of most poets doesn’t care about all that. Joe Average’s mission is to find value through entertainment. If you meet his needs, you receive laughs or tears and strong applause. If you don’t measure up to expectations, you may receive boos or just very tepid applause. If you’ve been in a crowd, you know the difference. When you perform, make sure that you pay close attention to the audience. What is their posture saying? What does the applause really mean? What are their reactions to various things? The audience will be real, because they are not your friends. You have to be real with them and in evaluating your reactions.

 
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