The English department is organising competitions during the academic year for pupils from Year 3 to Year 8 inclusive. This term there will be a poetry recitation competition. The basic idea is to select a poem which must be six lines or more in length. The most important aspect is to learn it by heart so that you can recite it as naturally and comfortably as possible in front of the class. My one piece of advice would be that it is much better to look at your audience during your performance rather than peering at the floor or the ceiling. There can be a ‘performance’ element to your recitation.
The poem could be a ‘classic’ from hundreds of years ago, or it might be a contemporary poem written last year. You can get as much help as you like in terms of selection and practice. You might choose your poem from the ones studied in class, or a poetry book found in the school library or at home. In addition, there is the internet which is a great resource for poetry nowadays. Many online sites have poems which can be found according to theme; sometimes you can hear the actual poet recite his/her verse.
Everyone will have the opportunity to recite their poem in class, after half-term. The pupils and teacher will vote for what they feel are the best performances – by secret ballot – and finalists will then be selected. Remember that you will be voting for what you genuinely believe are the best recitations, not selecting someone because you are friends! If you are selected for the final but you really do not want to recite the poem again in front of a larger audience, then you can withdraw from the competition; after all, it is meant to be fun, not torture.
In the last weeks of term – date to be announced – we will have the finals in the Britten Hall: Year 3 and Year 4 will be judged separately, Year 5 and Year 6 will compete against each other, as will Year 7 and Year 8. Good luck, remember that ‘practice makes perfect’ but, ultimately, that it is the taking part rather than winning which really counts.
Dr. Marshall, English Department, September 2013
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