Sunday, February 6, 2011

Poetry Out Loud

---I judged a Minnesota State Arts Board Poetry Out Loud regional competition yesterday. Seeing the extraordinarily talented readings was wonderful. It's a tough challenge. Competitors must put full meaning in their selected poems, without sliding into dramatic interpretation. There are two rounds, the contestants delivering a different poem in each round. For the first time in my life I heard someone do Poe's "Annabel Lee" without being trapped by the poet's horrible doggerel and without making it sound like a total dirge. It wasn't all roses, however; one competitor missed the boat on Frost's "Mending Wall," seeing it as a very sad occasion as opposed to a wry observation on long-held customs.

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