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Poetry Out Loud

Poetry Out Loud Southern Arizona Regional Finalists

Poetry Out Loud Congratulations to the Southern Arizona Poetry Out Loud Semi-Finalists: Steffi McNerney of St. Gregory College Preparatory School, Naomi Blackwell of Tucson High Magnet School, and Samantha Neville of Tucson High Magnet School!

Steffi, Naomi, and Samantha competed with 10 other high school students at the Poetry Center on March 3rd to secure their semi-finalist standing. All three ladies now move on to the State Finals Competition on Wednesday, March 16th from 7-9 p.m. in Phoenix, AZ. For more details about this performance visit www.azarts.gov/pol.

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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Coming Soon

The WordPlay blog is on winter holiday. Please check back in January 2011 for more great interviews and articles about bringing creative writing into your classroom, home, and community. In the meantime, here's what's upcoming for youth at the UA Poetry Center in the Spring. Mark your calendars.

Poetry Joeys: January 29, February 26, March 19.

Poetry Out Loud Regional Finals: March 3 at 8 p.m.

Bilingual Corrido Contest Concert featuring 2011 winners: April 16

Young at Art Fest: April 30

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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Sarah Kortemeier on Poetry Performance

Two factors contribute to the quality of your student performance:

#1: Energy - your voice energy should be coming from your gut and be physically pushed out to the audience.

#2: Close attention to the text - You have to listen to the text as you speak it. 

When you listen to the text, you are in the moment.  Do NOT ask your students to memorize the delivery of the performance; it won't be honest or believable. The performance shouldn't be exactly the same each time. Rather, by listening to themselves in the moment, they will respond organically and discover the poem anew each time.

When you are doing a close reading with the text, make sure you don't ask them to generalize the mood of the poem.  A generalized mood will make for a generalized performance. Instead, take the poem line by line, figure out what the most important words are in each sentence and how they should be spoken.

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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

POL #4: A Difficult Poem

These are responses from our Poetry Out Loud professional development discussion on the POL rubric category "Difficulty." Please comment with your own ideas about what makes for a difficult poem! This is #4 in our POL series. Other POL discussion threads include subjectivity of judging, what makes a good poetry recitation, and choosing a poem to recite.

Poetry Recitation: What makes for a "difficult" poem?

  • Length
  • Are we talking about difficult to memorize or difficult to perform?
  • Irregular meter and lack of rhyme (to memorize) 
  • Regular meter and rhyme (to perform)--for example, "The Jabberwocky"--how do you perform this poem well?
  • How inaccessible the the poem is. Related question regarding inaccessibility: Are you talking about diction and syntax? Or do you mean a 15-year-old girl trying to get into the mind of a 70-year-old man?

Please comment with your ideas about what makes for a difficult poem.

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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

POL #3: Choosing a poem to recite

These are responses from our Poetry Out Loud professional development discussion on how choosing a poem can determine the success of a recitation. Please comment with your own ideas! Other POL discussion threads include subjectivity of judging and what makes a good poetry recitation?

How does the poem chosen reflect or determine the success of the recitation?

  • There seem to be waves of students choosing similar poems each year.
  • But it's really important to let the students choose their own poems; they have so little choice about what they read at school, and this is a chance for them to select something to which they might really connect.
  • It's important to expose kids to a whole range of poems so they know what's out there.  Also, they need to see the difference between poems on a page and spoken poems.
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Monday, November 15, 2010

POL #2: Judging and Subjectivity

These are responses from our Poetry Out Loud professional development discussion on judging and subjectivity issues. Please comment with your own ideas!

How do you and your students grapple with issues of subjectivity in the judging process?

  • The performances you like aren't always the ones that win--the numbers on the rubric dictate who wins.
  • Conflict of interest--teaching/coaching vs. judging.  It's much easier to just be a teacher and coach than have to be a teacher, coach and judge.
  • The judges struggle with the subjectivity of the rubric categories--each can interpret differently, for example, "Level of Difficulty"--what makes for a difficult poem? Is it length? Is it irregular meter and lack of rhyme? Is it how inaccessible the writing of the poem is? 
  • This issue of subjectivity often is an adult conflict rather than a student conflict.
  • The new required categories of poems help increase the level of sophistication of the poems chosen. (Make sure to check the list--POL has retired many poems this year!)
  • The judges may need time to "warm up" - the people who went first consistently didn't didn't do as well.  Maybe this year we should have a few past winners start first to warm up the judges?
  • There needs to be diversity on the judging panel.
  • First time judging is really hard.
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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

POL #1: What makes a good poetry recitation?

These are responses from our Poetry Out Loud professional development discussion on what makes a good poetry recitation. Please comment with your own ideas!

  • Having [the POL] rubric is very helpful.  There are clearly lineated guidelines and categories for which students can practice.
  • Students have to have a connection to the poem.  It can't just be any poem.  The student understanding the poem is really important to the performance.
  • The student has to "own" it--tell it like their story.
  • Poetry recitations very different than poetry readings (by poet).  The student has to bring it to life but can't over-do it (with gestures, etc.)
  • You have to break down the line to discover where the emphasis feels right
  • Force yourself to stand still in front of a mirror and pay attention to where your body wants to move--then work in the (subtle) gesture later.
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Monday, November 1, 2010
Arizona Board of Regents