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.

Related question: How is poetry recitation different from SLAM or theatrical performances?

  • With Slam, anything goes--anyone can judge and performers can even make up a poem on the spot.  In theater, you carry the performance with your body.  In a poetry recitation, the words should take prominence--you remember the poem rather than the speaker.  There is also a hierarchy, judges who go through training to judge this specific performance, and a proscribed set of rules the performers have to follow.
  • Poetry recitation is really about the voice carrying the poem rather than the body. In theater, the body is instrumental in carrying the performance.
Created on: 
Monday, November 1, 2010
Arizona Board of Regents