"When I first started producing poetry shows, this was my format: in a two hour block, I had 5 poets read for two sets of 10 minutes each with a 15-20 minute break between. It worked, or at least the feedback from the poets was that it worked. As the show (dubbed “Don McIver & Friends” by the venue) progressed I kept noticing that I would lose audience at the break. So I adjusted to a 12 minute set and an 8 minute set but people still split at the break. For a variety of reasons, after 3 years, I switched from the above format to the traditional 2 hour Open Mike-Feature-Slam format and we kept going until the venue went out of business. When I switched to the new format a lot of the audience left at that break too. To be honest, not everybody left at break, but enough people left that I tinkered with the schedule. If given a break, many of the audience would leave after about an hour. Recently I realized that I had been asking the wrong question when I asked, “How can I hold on to them longer so they hear more poetry before leaving?” When I should’ve been asking, “Why are they leaving after about an hour?” . . . "
read more at: newmexicomercury.com/blog/comments/a_spoonful_of_cinnamon_poetry_is_better_in_doses