Reading Poetry: Sewing Parachutes

One of the best parts about poetry is hearing it read aloud. I go to a lot of open mics, because I enjoy reading my poetry out loud. It’s the fastest, frankest feedback you’ll ever get on your work. You gauge the audience’s reaction. Either they react- laugh or cry or are shocked- or they don’t. Even if people don’t like your poem because it makes them feel bad, you’re creating a reaction. You’re creating music.

With words.

So, I realized that those of you who are reading this blog… several of you have never seen me perform. Rather than simply put a poem on here for you to copy+paste for your next creative writing assignment, I’m going to upload a video. It’s just me reading a poem in my bedroom. I didn’t have the poem memorized very well, and it’s fairly new. We’re talking days old, so not many of you have heard this particular piece. So, here’s something new from me to you. Just a poetry reading. Maybe you’ll love it so much that you’ll start attending open mics in your local community. That’d be cool.

So below are poems called “Sewing Parachutes” and “Collision.” Give me some feedback. Tell me what you think.


About Derek Berry

Derek Berry is a novelist and spoken word poet. Derek is the author of Heathens and Liars of Lickskillet County (PRA Publishing, 2016). He co-founded and organizes The Unspoken Word, a literary non-profit based out of Charleston, SC, which provides an intendent home for the poetic arts through regular readings, workshops, and community fundraisers. He is on the Executive Board of the Charleston Poetry Festival, the inaugural production of which will be Fall 2017. His work has appeared in The Southern Tablet, Cattywampus, Charleston Currents, Illuminations, RiverSedge, and other journals.He has performed in venues across the United States and Germany. He has worked as a photographer’s assistant, busboy, and bookseller. He currently works at a curation facility for Cold War History.

Posted on June 11, 2011, in Poems, Poetry, Writing and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 45 Comments.

  1. Sorry, I’m late! You have removed the video. I really would have liked it.

    • I forgot that I removed it, so I just uploaded a new version which has another poem with it. Soon, I’ll upload a better version of me performing the poem live on this blog. It’s one of my favorite poems, so I want people to have it and hear it.

  2. Hi, Derek! I’ve watched the video now and think it is pretty good. But for me as a german, it is read a bit to fast to understand it right away…but I will find the poems in your archive to read them. The idea to put videos on the Blog is interesting. I did some audios, but never get much response to them. Video will cost some extra fee and I don’t think that it’s worth it, just to show off with my stupid face 😉
    I plan my first public reading in october. Hope they will not throw me out…

    • Ah, I doubt it. I’m sure I could try translating the poems into German, but my German is not advanced enough to make such changes. I have, however, written some simple German poetry. Decent stuff.
      Good luck at your reading!

      • Please, do you no harm! I tried to translate only ONE of my poems to germerican english – never got finished! The sense of it is all mixed up an not the same poem anymore. It is a good training for me to rummage through what you’ve written.

      • haha. I need practice speak better German as well, though. Perhaps, though, that’s what college is for, more or less.

      • You take lessons learning german? How come? Or are there some ancient family members once emigrated from here and there is still a bit of german tradition left? It can not be for fun – I guess.

      • I have been taking German for five years. This is my sixth, now that I’m at university. My mother is German, and I intend to work with international politics one day.

      • Sehr interessant! Sechs Jahre deutsch lernen und mir dann auf amerikanisch antworten?

        I had 6 years in school but have forgotten anything within half an hour, after school was finished with me. That was a lie, in deed. But I never made much out of the english I was taught in school, until I worked together with a young american. Since then I did what I can to increase my skills. Reading Books – Treasure Island, Harry Potter, Clockwork Orange and some more. Whenever there is an opportunity to speak or to write to somebody I will take a chance…

        You may not believe it, but I was never in England, even if it is not too far away from where I live. So, lazy bone…I expect an answer in propper german language next time 😉


      • Ah, mein Geheimnis ist aus! Ach, Clockwerk Orange ist kein Buch auf Englisch. Ich habe keine Ahnung was das Spreche ist.

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  1. Pingback: The Writing History of Derek Berry: Part 2 | derekberry

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