I'm giving a poetry reading down at UVSC today. It's been awhile since I've done this, and I'm sort of sick today, but I'm still looking forward to it.
Here's how it goes for me: anticipation and preparation (yesterday I picked poems from my book, my manuscript, and my new manuscript); dread and self-loathing (on the way down there, I will become intensely aware of all the drawbacks and weaknesses of my work); reading (as I'm reading, I edit out poems that I've picked that appear to me, as I'm standing at the lectern, to be ludicrously bad); and post-reading reaction. Once at the Arts Festival, when I read just before the big headlining band, after people had been standing around in the hot sun drinking beer all day, I actually got heckled. I don't think this will happen today, but you never know.
In general, I don't adore readings--there's something pretty precious about them that makes me squirm. However, sometimes a reading can be so wonderful that it transcends the genre. In the hilarious vein, Susan Musgrave's reading at AWP did this; in the somber vein, a reading Mark Strand did after the publication of Blizzard of One that I thought was pretty great.
I will report on how it all went. In any case, they're paying me, so there's that.