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Is This Loud Enough?

James Scott, The Loud Poetry Guy, will be at Ashburn Library, 43316 Hay Road, Ashburn, Saturday, April 21, at 2 p.m. Recommended for children ages 5 and up. Call 703-430-2397.

Introduce yourself:

I'm James Scott, also known as The Loud Poetry Guy.

What is a Loud poet?

A loud poet (and I think I'm officially the only one) is someone who energizes poetry with the way he reads and interprets it.

Why should poetry be read loudly?

The loud reading flows with the energy of the poem. A loud reading implies a high-energy poem, while the same person could read a different poem in a quiet, weird or very goofy voice.

Does your voice get very hoarse?

In 25 years of doing Loud Poetry shows across the nation, I have never missed a show or been so hoarse that I've cancelled. I have been known to be very ill in between show dates, but I've never missed a show.

What is the best poem to say loudly?

My favorite poem of all time is "Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout Would Not Take the Garbage Out" by Shel Silverstein, from his book "Where the Sidewalk Ends." My two favorite Loud-energy poems of my own are "Louder!!!" from my book, "Louder!!!" and "Chocolate, Chocolate," from

my book "Louder, Two!!!"

How did you get your start?

I was reading poetry for a classroom on celebrity reader day, since I was a semi-famous comedian in the area and I read so loudly that I annoyed six other classrooms. They all got together in one space and asked me to read some more. The principal came by and asked me to come back and do an assembly. Three years later, they offered me money, and I accepted.

How long have you been performing for?

2006-2007 is my 25th year of performing poetry for schools, libraries and festivals throughout the United States.

What has been your best memory when it comes to poetry?

I remember my mother reading to the four of us kids at bedtime. She made the poems come alive. In my third year of doing assemblies, I realized that I was hoping the kids in my audiences were feeling as great as I did when my mom read to me.

Describe your poetry:

My poetry is funny, it bounces, it rhymes and each one tells a story. And then, some of them don't. Many are true stories, except for the parts that are lies.

Biggest influences in terms of poetry:

In my childhood, I read a lot of Ogden Nash, e.e. cummings, Lewis Carroll and Edward Lear. Then I started reading Shel Silverstein when he started writing books and things just took off from there.

Other influences:

My mom, a whole lot of comedians including Bill Cosby and Flip Wilson — they told great stories, Walt Disney, Leonardo DaVinci, God and the guy who invented the spork.

Favorite poems? Why?

"Casey at the Bat" and "A Visit from St. Nicholas" because I've written about six different versions of each. They're known and loved by practically everyone, so they're great to write parodies of. Also, "The Mulberry Poem" from my book, "Louder!!!", and "No Doctors Today, Thank You" by Ogden Nash.

Where is your favorite place to perform and why?

Anyplace there is an audience.

What do you enjoy most about performing live?

The energy you get back from the audience, both during and after the show.

Anyone poet you would really like to meet? Why?

Shel Silverstein, because he's dead and I think it would be really amazing to meet a dead guy.

Best compliment about a performance?

An 8-year-old once told me, "You are the greatest poem reader in the universe!" I wanted to ask him how many parts of the universe he had actually been to, but his spaceship took off before I could get the question out.

Anything special about the upcoming show?

Yes … me and the audience. Every show is special because of what happens to us and between us as we move through it.

Most recent poem you've recited or written?

This school year, I've included a poem called "The World's Best Safety Patrol." I wrote it in June of 2006 and the kids think it is great.

Future Plans:

Keep being The Loud Poetry Guy until I'm about 110 years old.

Then I'll be The Little Old Kind of Quiet Poetry Guy until I'm 120 years old. Then I'll retire and live with my children.