IT’S ALMOST COMFORTING to know that a performer like Seattle’s Karen Finneyfrock—a seasoned spoken-word artist with 11 years of slam poetry under her belt—can still get stage fright.

“When you perform a lot, the nerves become exhausting,” particularly when the material is personal, said the Richard Hugo House writer-in-residence. But there are ways to face an audience without getting the shakes. Finneyfrock will share a few tips during a June 8 workshop at 826 Seattle, titled simply: “How to Perform Like I Do.” Rule number one? Be yourself.

“We all have ways of protecting ourselves, and those defenses are strong,” she said, noting that audiences can easily detect stage artifice. “Oddly enough, one of the hardest things performers have to do is to learn to be themselves on stage. Practicing this art form can make us more comfortable with ourselves beyond just the joys of writing and performing.”

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