11/03/15

This year, I had the fantastic opportunity of taking part in ‘Poetry By Heart’ (PBH), a national competition in which involves contestants of Year 10 to 13. Contestants are required to memorise and perform poems they choose themselves from a given list. Intrigued, I signed up, deciding to participate in something I’d never tried before, spoken word poetry.

This year, I had the fantastic opportunity of taking part in ‘Poetry By Heart’ (PBH), a national competition in which involves contestants of Year 10 to 13. Contestants are required to memorise and perform poems they choose themselves from a given list. Intrigued, I signed up, deciding to participate in something I’d never tried before, spoken word poetry.

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The first round was the school competition, from which one winner would go on to the county finals. We each had to select one pre-1914 poem and one post-1914 poem to recite. Students from Year 10 to Year 12 took part at Townley, meeting up at lunchtimes with Ms Thurlow to practise our poems together. In November the school competition took place, with an audience of Year 7s and 12s, and teachers judging each contestant’s performance. We were judged based on our understanding of the poem, the level of difficulty of the poem chosen, overall performance, and accuracy. Although there were a few slip-ups, everyone did extremely well, and it was an enjoyable experience.

I was fortunate enough to advance to the next stage in the competition at Soho Theatre in Central London, one of many of the PBH county competitions dotted around the country. For this competition, everyone had to learn another poem from PBH’s First World War anthology. This part of the competition was split into two rounds: in the first, we all recited our pre-1914 and post-1914 poems, from which the judges picked the three contestants that would perform their war poem in the second round, after that a winner and a runner-up out of those three contestants were chosen. I was delighted to be able to perform in both rounds and came third overall. Sadly I wasn’t able to advance to the national round of the competition, however, it was a wonderful experience shared with some lovely and talented fellow contestants, and I received a bag of poetry goodies for my participation in the county competition.

This experience has reinforced my love for poetry and has given me confidence in performing poetry out loud, whereas I’d previously only ever read and written it. I’d like to thank Ms Thurlow for organising the competition, without whom I never would have had this brilliant experience, and I encourage all of you to indulge yourselves in some poetry, especially the spoken variety!

 

Hannah L

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