Friday, March 13, 2009

Poetry Friday

One Friday afternoon not *too* long ago, our family (including a friend and a few cousins) spent a few lovely hours mesmerized by our regionals competition of the Poetry Out Loud National Recitation Competition. There were only a handful of competitors (including Ria!), but the competition was stiff, the poetry was excellent and the performances were really wonderful.

Each competitor was required to have three prepared poems from an extensive approved list that can be found here. Ria chose three that she already loved: G.K. Chesterton's "The Donkey", Joyce Kilmer's "Trees" and Shakespeare's Sonnet 29, "When In Disgrace, with Fortune and Men's Eyes".

Here is her performance of "The Donkey": (With special thanks to Dr. Thursday.)

She did very well and came in 4th place out of seven (the top 3 went on to State). We're very proud of her!

Here's a poem I had never heard before, but particularly enjoyed from the competition:

"Teaching English from an Old Composition Book" by Gary Soto

My chalk is no longer than a chip of fingernail,
Chip by which I must explain this Monday
Night the verbs “to get;” “to wear,” “to cut.”
I’m not given much, these tired students,
Knuckle-wrapped from work as roofers,
Sour from scrubbing toilets and pedestal sinks.
I’m given this room with five windows,
A coffee machine, a piano with busted strings,
The music of how we feel as the sun falls,
Exhausted from keeping up.

I stand at
The blackboard. The chalk is worn to a hangnail,
Nearly gone, the dust of some educational bone.
By and by I’m Cantiflas, the comic
Busybody in front. I say, “I get the coffee.”
I pick up a coffee cup and sip.
I click my heels and say, “I wear my shoes.”
I bring an invisible fork to my mouth
And say, “I eat the chicken.”
Suddenly the class is alive—
Each one putting on hats and shoes,
Drinking sodas and beers, cutting flowers
And steaks—a pantomime of sumptuous living.

Read the rest at the Poetry Out Loud website here.

And you can find the Poetry Friday round up here.


Margaret in Minnesota said...

Congratulations to Ria! I loved her choice of poetry.

Cloudscome said...

Excellent choices! I can just see that classroom and feel the chalk in my hand. Great movement in these few lines.

Karen E. said...

Great job, Ria! And I, too, love the Soto poem.