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A poetry reading is a public oral recitation or performance of poetry. Reading poetry aloud allows the reader to express their own experience through poetry, changing the poem according to their sensibilities. The reader uses pitch and stress, and pauses become apparent. A poetry reading typically takes place on a small stage in a café or bookstore where multiple poets recite their own work. A more prominent poet may be chosen as the "headliner" of such an event and famous poets may also take the stage at a bigger venue such as an amphitheater or college auditorium.
How early poems like the Illiad were transmitted to audiences is not clear. Modern poetry readings only became popular in the last half of the twentieth century, at least in the United States, with stars like Dylan Thomas and Robert Frost. Live poetry reading competitions, called poetry slams and beginning in the 1980s, also remain popular.
Also in Japan, some poets have read poetry in public. Setsuko Chiba, a Japanese poet, developed performance poetry in Tokyo after her debut in New York and her work in Paris.