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Poetry Reading by Alvo Stockman MULTIPLE predictions woven into a beautiful poem. Written, read and handed out right in front of your spectator!
Price: $19.95
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If you want to hear more, here's a clip of me talking about Poetry Reading
Click to listen to the Poetry Reading Demo

Imagine you’re sitting at a local coffee shop, steaming drink in your hand, contemplating life when you strike up a conversation with a friendly stranger.

“What are you working on?” she asks.

“Oh, just writing some poetry in my journal,” you reply.

“Are you a poet?” she inquires.

“It’s just a hobby of mine, actually. Would you like to hear some?”

“Of course!” she exclaims excitedly.

And so it begins. You read a few short poems to her before asking, “Would you like me to write one for you?”

“Sure!” is the response.

As you write, you look up once or twice but never ask any questions. “While writing, I made some wild guesses about your tastes. Just out of curiosity, what is your favorite color?”


“And your favorite flower?”


“Oh REALLY? I think you’re going to like this poem...”

You immediately show her the poem you’ve been working on right in front of her which turns out to be quite inspirational, personal and specifically about her! No nailwriting here, these facts are embedded into a poem, complete with rhyming verse!

(from the manuscript..)


As an art form, poetry has been around for thousands of years. From as far back as Gilgamesh over 3,000 years ago, to Homer, Virgil, to Shakespeare and Dylan, poetry is the oldest known form of written fiction. It has moved and touched people for centuries and is to this day a popular form of expression.

Something about poetry gives its message a strong presence and impact. Perhaps it is our evolution as a musical and story-telling species that explains why poetry and song resonate so well with us.

Poetry is synonymous with emotional beauty. Only when performances are particularly beautiful or moving are they referred to as “poetic.” Dancers, actors, painters, only when having reached the pinnacle of their form are they themselves referred to as “poetic.”

Magic is an art form centered around amazement, emotion, desire and in rare cases, beauty. It is not, however a strictly defined set of tools or props. Instead, it is an experience. Magic lives in the mind, not in the physical world. It is therefore necessary to weave magic into our lives it is to be fully appreciated. Magic in the form of a “show” is an extremely limited opportunity. Even for magicians who perform regularly, the amount of time one is “on” is limited to the small fraction of a day. To live as a magician is to share this beauty of wonder wherever and whenever the opportunity arises. It is therefore important to be ready to introduce magic into the fabric of your life. To propogate a myth, a legend around being someone with special powers requires more than a stage persona. Being true and being yourself on and off stage is the only way to catch those precious opportunities. Underneath the super power abilities, the real “magic” is sharing a piece of beauty with your audience. WIth that perspective, the world becomes your “stage”, and every minute of every day your “showtime.”

Ok, back to the poetry! We have a great opportunity here. In keeping with our primary goal of sharing beauty, it would be perfectly reasonable and appreciated to simply write a beautiful poem and give it to someone. Tried and tested, the poem has proven itself for thousands of years before the first recorded magic trick. In the epic poems carved in stone thousands of years before Christ, gods and men performed magic for those early audiences. These writings created a sense of wonder, of mystery, and painted colorful pictures of the unknown. Precisely what magic aims to do today.

Magic does not exist in a vaccuum. It is a part of life. This is why it must incorporate elements of life to be important. To have a point of reference. In the same way that motion is relative, so too is magic! The further from reality your plots and props get, the harder it is to relate or care.

Perhaps more importantly, magic must tell a story in order to matter to people. Consider modern marketing. When selling anything from roses to running shoes, marketers use stories to make people invest emotion into things. Politicians use similar strategies when campaigning.

Combining your magic with something else that already matters is a great way to enhance both.

Imagine how much value must have been placed on the earliest people for them to have been painstakingly chiseled into stone. Their raw simplicity combined with stories about fundamental human emotions allows us to appreciate them thousands of years later. Can the same be said about magic?

As it turns out, yes! Well, sort of. Before the popularity of magic for magic’s sake, shamans and religious figures throughout history have used magic to change civilizations. If you had called them “tricks,” you probably would have been killed, but their methods were based on many of the same methods used by entertainers today. The point I’m trying to make is that the most affecting magicians have used skills and arts beyond isolated “tricks.” They coupled their magical perspectives with issues that mattered to people. Always planting their abilities just beyond what’s humanly possible. Close enough to be believable but just out of reach. Obviously, what is believable has varied greatly over time, but the principle remains the same. It’s no surprise then that the most popular magical shaman today is Derren Brown, who cleverly combines cutting edge psychological research with a bit of conjury and a healthy dose of showmanship.

My goal with Poetry Reading was to create a magical experience in a casual environment that takes all the inherent power of poetry, and combines it with the impact of personal and emotional stories that when shared not only amazes and mystifies, but motivates and inspires.



Unlike the long list of magic tricks that give “souvenirs” to spectators, Poetry Reading gives them something intended as a gift from the beginning. It’s unique, personal, inspirational and will potentially be saved and re-read for many years. It’s a memento that will make its recipient smile, feel good and remember their magical experience with you.


I touched on this above, but what gives Poetry Reading real value is that it gives back to the audience. They are paying you their attention, after all and it’s always nice to get something when you pay. When you tear a playing card and restore it, you’ve had zero long-term effect on the world around you. It’s a neat trick, but it ends there. Poetry Reading has real potential to help people have a improved outlook on life and to cause real, positive change in someone’s life.


Because of the highly casual and natural interaction involved in performing Poetry Reading, your spectator never needs to know that you’re performing a magic trick. If you follow it up with more magic, they may get a clue, but leave them wondering about your incredible ability to read peoples’ emotions. Think about it. It creates a lot more wonder if a poet reads minds than when a magician does. We’re “supposed” to be able to do “that stuff” and it’s sometimes easy for folks to dismiss. By the time you’re done, they’ll never be expecting the twist ending!

Escalator Principle

Poetry Reading was designed from the beginning as a natural and casual interaction between two people. In the off-chance your predictions don’t hit spot on (they will 99% of the time), you’ve merely given your friend a nice poem which can be appreciated on its own without any magic. This safety net is something I call the Escalator Principle as it similar to how an escalator never really breaks down completely but simply turn into stairs, which are quite useful on their own!

Manufacturer Says

44 pages.

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Pretty darn good! Report this review
Verified buyer Pro Privacy ON (login to see reviewer names) on June 1st, 2008
Poetry Reading... A concept we have all found so familiar to many plots out there, such as Jay Sankey's VIP. I have to say that when I found this was being shipped, I thought it was going to have the same method as VIP. Let me tell you... I was wrong.

Let me start off by saying that the method is not what you would expect at all. I can't say too much about it here, but it is really unexpected. It takes a minute to set up, but all poetry should take a solid few minutes if not more.

When I found out I had won the poetry contest, I thought that since writing that poem was so hard, writing poems AND having to place the words in there that describe the spectator would be really, really time consuming and hard. Well, even if you don't like poetry or can't do it, there is a method for you!

The manuscript itself is... a manuscript. How much can you expect from a little paper booklet? It is however thicker than I imagined and has any possible scenario you could run into covered with one or more outs. Alvo obviously spent a lot of time thinking about this... or writing insane amounts of poetry.

The way the manuscript was written was surprisingly motivational as well. Alvo is a very motivational person and has a wonderful personality from what I can tell.

You know, throughout this whole review, I have left out one key thing. (Adjones would and will be ashamed... ) The trick itself. The trick itself seems like it would have a great effect on spectators, and from the reactions I have gotten from Jay Sankey's VIP, this would definatly get stronger, more solid reactions.

That is about all I can say about this effect, seeing as it is one effect. The teaching is great, the method is amazing, the manuscript is well constructed and motivational, what more could you want?

Thanks again Alvo for the great trick which I would have gladly bought full price off of Penguin Magic! Thanks also for your generosity in the contest!
1 of 1 magicians found this helpful.
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Unique and interesting Report this review
Verified buyer Pro Privacy ON (login to see reviewer names) on March 14th, 2017
This one is difficult to review. As others have noted, this would play best as an organic or one-on-one effect, which limits its usefulness, but the thinking is creative and sound. It will take you a while to make up the gimmick, but Alvo walks you through it. (The booklet is complete and well written.) You will also have to do a couple of "moves" that aren't difficult, but you have to do them cleanly. Other than that, if you want an interesting, creative effect that will leave your spectator with a wonderful souvenir, then get this. It's pretty charming.
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GET THIS FOR PREMISE ALONE! Report this review
Pro Privacy ON (login to see reviewer names) on October 5th, 2014
Okay so the method is interesting, thought-provoking, but not truly the most commercial methodology. However, if you want a book with ideas that will engage your audience emotionally, this is it. If you want an effect that is scenario-perfect, truly SEEMS off the cuff and personal and unique, this is it. (If you like the ideas you could EASILY apply the premises to other methods (you could even use Alvo's method from his BFF Prediction) and really make this more commercial and practical method wise.)
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very specialized Report this review
Verified buyer Pro Privacy ON (login to see reviewer names) on January 13th, 2014
which is OK. And if you're a mentalist who likes to do personal effects and you have intelligent, sensitive, and patient people in your audience, this should be a lot of fun for you to do.
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Interesting, but... Report this review
Verified buyer Pro Privacy ON (login to see reviewer names) on January 8th, 2014
This is a very interesting effect, but it is a very situational piece - which is what I expected when I bought it. The method is clever and practical, and I will be using this in the right situation. It's not the kind of thing you're going to put into your professional show however. In the right environment, this could seem like a miracle. I did get Poetry Reading at a reduced price on Cool Box, and I'm glad I didn't pay full price for it.
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s'OK Report this review
Verified buyer Pro Privacy ON (login to see reviewer names) on June 28th, 2013
This effect is OK if you want a one-to-one kind of routine. It's very personal and not suited for an audience of more than one or two. Gave it a four because it is limited. But then so are a number of mentalist effects which play best to a small audience or just one person.
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Very cool effect Report this review
Pro Privacy ON (login to see reviewer names) on April 2nd, 2010
I haven't yet performed this, but I definitely will. It is a very clever, and most importantly, strong effect. Brilliant thinking on Alvo's part. This is highly recommended.

Add to cart!
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Thanks Report this review
Verified buyer Pro Privacy ON (login to see reviewer names) on April 2nd, 2010
I got this as a prize in Alvos Poetry contest and am glad I entered. IT does take some setting up and creativity on your part but that is what magic is all about.

You really cant just perform this one. You need the proper set up. I would not walk up and tell someone that you are going to write them a poem. It needs to be organic. All of Alvos effects are organic.

Pick it up.
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Disappointing Report this review
Verified buyer Pro Privacy ON (login to see reviewer names) on July 1st, 2014
I did not get any thing that I expected. I feel like I wasted my money. I would rather buy some decks.
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