Some time ago, a friend of mine who is a poet saw a publication requesting for poems to be rendered at the immortalization ceremony of the late Prof. Dora Akunyili, Nigeria’s renowned pharmacist and former Director General of NAFDAC. She reluctantly decided to write because she never thought her piece would be chosen.
Here is the lesson: as an entrepreneur or just a normal individual, the worst you can ever be told is a No. When you don’t try, you are already doomed to an irreconcilable No. When you try, you get the chance of receiving either a No or a Yes.
I’ll spare you the long gist. She submitted her work almost at deadline. It was accepted and she earned the opportunity to render the poem before numerous dignitaries and politicians. It was so perfect that tears formed colonies on the eyes of the listeners. After the rendition, she was called back to the podium and was given a token. Then, I got thinking.
Poets can take leverage of the platform provided by special functions like concerts, parties, birthdays, anniversaries and the likes.
- Get A Suitable Platform
You can start with a friend’s birthday party. Approach the organisers with your idea, and make them buy it. Let them know it will add glamour to the occasion and won’t take much time to render.
- No Charges
To infiltrate your market, your first few renditions should be free. Your major focus should be putting up a good show and gaining the needed recognition.
- Write A Befitting Piece
When writing a poem, study the occasion. It is pointless writing a sorrowful piece for a birthday party. Your piece should really reflect the atmosphere for the occasion and should take emotional roots in the hearts of the listeners. Perhaps, beautiful words of accolades to the celebrant mixed with deep expressions of love. If you get this wrong, your chances of getting a second invite will be slimmer.
- Adopt A Presentation Style
The styles to adopt ranges from a monologue to polylogue. This is where your creative prowess comes in. I’d prefer a dramatic rendition. A dialogue suits me, it shows communication and appeals to most audiences. Make the rendition as beautiful and engaging as possible. Often times, monologues also work. They work perfectly for funerals and mild renditions. Please try not to read the lines off a paper during rendition. As much as you can, memorise the lines perfectly before you go on stage. A soft background tune is also advisable. Let’s say, it makes the poem to sink deeper.
- Do It Your (DIY) Is Not Always Advisable
Not every poet knows how to present poems. If it is a monologue and you are not the perfect gender or if you can’t give a ground breaking rendition, get someone to do it. When dialogues or polylogues are involved, get a team. I advise you gradually develop yourself to the stature of a presenter, but you must not do it yourself.
- The Bow
Your poem should always end with a climax. A climax must not necessarily be joyous. Understand your writing tone and end with the climax of that tone. It may be tearful or cheerful. When you’re done with the presentation, take a slight bow and leave: it’s courtesy. Don’t just walk out of the stage without an exit signature. If a bow isn’t suitable for you, develop a unique exit signature.
Look for more functions where you can do similar free performances. This is all in a bid to gain public acceptance. You’ll surprised at the number of people who will come to you seeking for such presentations afterwards. Give them reasonable charges and you’ll be on your way to making cool cash with little stress.