To become a poem.
Every year, that is what the Poetry Out Loud asks of its participants. Beginning at the classroom level, with the opportunity to culminate in local/state/national levels, Poetry Out Loud is a competition that unites the literary arts with on-stage performance.
Poetry Out Loud is a program that attempts to assert the value of poetry and the literary arts in education. It offers the chance for students to build a relationship with poetry, which, if done well, can be an intimate experience. Aside from that, P.O.L. builds public speaking skills, confidence, and requires a mastery of literary arts.
The participants are required to memorize two poems and recite them before a panel of judges, who grade the performance by a series of criteria including physical presence, articulation, dramatic appropriateness, and evidence of understanding. The final criterion is perhaps the most important: the winning performances are those that exhibit an understanding of the poem that is communicated in such a way that transcends the others. The winning performers are those that become the poem’s essence, the vessel through which the poem may speak.
I urge any students interested in poetry, literature, acting/performance, debate, sociology, history, education, philosophy, art, any activity/job/etc requiring public speaking, to look into Poetry Out Loud and to consider participating. It is an academically valuable – and potentially spiritually fulfilling – activity.
Further information on Poetry Out Loud:
Clinton Holloway, Rm A103