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April 17, 2011
by: Tad Phippen Wente, Creative Writing teacher

Poetry & Lyrics Seminar

Poetry & Lyrics Seminar wrapped up its quarter today with a “Final Reading” in three categories: Poetry Out Loud (inspired by the National Endowment for the Arts National Recitation Contest), a book of poetry, and a poetry slam.

For Poetry Out Loud, students memorized well-known poems and recited them to the audience. Poet Evangeline Paterson says that this is the best way to truly understand a poem, and that was evident in the expression the presenters used.

In a rare move, I allowed some to students to skip the presenting part of the final and assemble a collection of their own printed poems. For the class they stood up front and silently paged through their book. Turns out they kept wanting to read the pieces aloud after all!

Finally, a competition was held among the slammers. In this category students had to write their own poems or lyrics and deliver them with mega expression, as suitable for the message. This combination of writing and acting was cheerfully judged by audience members for content and delivery after the warm-up round, and again for a tie-breaker.

I wish the seminar wasn’t ending. Seems like we’re just getting started! Next year we’ll have a whole trimester to work with and, I hope, a Slam Team!

What a great way to share our enthusiasm for the written word and to celebrate the start of National Poetry Month!

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