Read the poem slowly. Most adolescents speak rapidly, and a nervous reader will tend to do the same in order to get the reading over with. Reading a poem slowly is the best way to ensure that the poem will be read clearly and understood by its listeners. Learning to read a poem slowly will not just make the poem easier to hear; it will underscore the importance in poetry of each and every word. A poem cannot be read too slowly, and a good way for a reader to set an easy pace is to pause for a few seconds between the title and the poem’s first line. —Billy Collins —How To Read a Poem Out Loud (Poetry 180)
My students are gearing up to for a sonnet slam. A friend from high school lent me the CD Billy Collins Live, and as I googled Collins I came across the website he posted when he was the US poet laureate.