Here is a list of things I wrote down to remind myself what not to do when giving a poetry reading.
(Tomorrow I'll post my What To Do at Poetry Readings list)
What NOT to do at Poetry Readings--
1) Don't read too much or go over your time.
2) Don't laugh at your own jokes.
3) Don't try to be too cute even if you are too cute.
4) Don't assume this is your only chance to read and you'll never have an opportunity like this again as you will end up squeezing way too much into your time and/or refuse to leave the stage.
5) If there's a theme or subject to reading (i.e. Poems About the War), don't read poems about penguins, unless those penguins are in the war.
6) Don't read too many poems about your kids (even as a parent/mother, I started to find this a little annoying)
7) Don't have nervous laughter, even if you're nervous. Nervous crying is better than nervous laughter.
8) Don't believe that your job is just to read your poems, it's not-- it's to connect with your audience and let them leave with something that's more than how wonderful you are (or I am).
9) Don't believe you're all that and a book of poems.