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All poetry was originally oral, it was sung or chanted; poetic form as we know it is an abstraction therefrom when writing replaced memory as a way of preserving poetic utterances, but the ghost of oral poetry never vanishes. 
A poetry reading is a performance of poetry, normally given on a small stage in a café or bookstore, although poetry readings given by notable poets frequently are booked into larger venues such as amphitheaters and college auditoriums, to accommodate crowds. Unless otherwise indicated in advance, poetry readings almost always involve poets reading their own work or reciting it from memory—the recitation of a work by another poet is normally the act of a well-known poet who chooses to read a few poems by lesser-known poets or old friends that the poet feels should be more widely recognized. Poetry readings often involve several readers (often called "featured poets" or "featureds"), although normally one poet is chosen as a "headliner." Sometimes poetry can be hard to read.
A poetry slam is a competitive format that has become increasingly popular, especially in the United States, since its inception in the 1980s. Much of the poetry featured at slams has adapted to a hip-hop sensibility.
- Hollander, John Rymes Reason - A Gude to English Verse, Yale University Press, New Haven 1981 ISBN 978300043075
- Video showcase recorded at poetry readings in Southern California, on the Poetry.LA website
- Video showcase recorded at poetry readings in Vancouver, BC, Canada, on the Poemdroids Only official website
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