Five Minutes

(That’s a total of five minutes, including introductions, commentary, tuning a guitar, and / or fumbling with the mike.)

 How to determine the duration of one’s program?
Practice it!
Time it!
It’s what the professionals do.  Why not me and you?


Rules of thumb:

5 minutes = 350 words (approximately 5 rushed sonnets, 4 properly paced sonnets, 2 pages of iambic pentameter, or 1 page of prose  –  include intros and comments in your word count)

5 minutes = 1 song  (Not 2 short songs.  That never works.)

But, really, do not go by these rules of thumb.  You owe it to your audience to practice while running a stop watch: know your times.


Nobody gets the hook.  We do not run a timer during your performance.  You are on the honor system to be respectful of the time limit.

However, we will resent you, deeply, if you go 5 minutes and 30 seconds, or more.


Practice with a time piece.  

Here is a useful list of guidelines for making sure a reading goes well:  Why Most Readings Suck And How To Fix It  (including the wonderful phrase, “Time is a thing, fuckface”).