Bristol by Heart poetry recitation contest

Metre and Memorisation Project

The Metre and Memorisation Project, funded by the Brigstow Institute at the University of Bristol, announces the Bristol by Heart poetry recitation contest in collaboration with Poetry by Heart 

Details of the Prize

Contestants are required to recite a poem from memory.  Poems chosen should be poems or extracts from poems of between fourteen and forty lines in length and in English.  All poems must be published and not the work of participants. Beyond this, the choice of poems is up to students and their teachers.  Poems can, for instance, be poems that are also being studied as part of regular school work, such as poems required for GCSE.  Alternatively, they can be selected from the wide range of suitable poems on the Poetry by Heart website, or indeed from further afield.  Why not choose poems that reflect Bristol’s diverse population or poems from its rich poetic history? Participants choosing a poem not on the Poetry by Heart website are asked to include a copy of the text of the poem learned along with their entry.

There are four age categories: 7+, 11+, 14+, 16+.  Heats will be held in participating schools. The process of judging these heats will be left up to the individual school: judges can be teachers, the participants’ peer group, or a combination of two.  The best 3-5 performances in each age category will then be uploaded onto the Poetry by Heart website for consideration by the judges.  Students whose school / class is not participating in the competition can enter independently, providing that their entry is approved and uploaded by a teacher or parent/legal guardian.

We would encourage teachers and parents to make learning and performing the poems as enjoyable and inclusive a process as possible and to talk about different methods of memorisation. The judges will be looking for a high quality poetry recital rather than a dramatic interpretation, and we recommend that poems are performed in the reader’s natural accent.  Further Tips on poetry recital can be found on the Poetry by Heart website.  All participating students, whether shortlisted by the schools or not, are invited to fill in a questionnaire about their experience of memorisation.  The data from these forms will be anonymised and used to help the Metre and Memorisation project into its research into the psychological effects of poetry memorisation.  Three of the contestants who complete these forms will be chosen at random to receive a £10 book token.

There are four age categories: 7+, 11+, 14+, 16+

The Deadline for entries to be uploaded is 5pm on Friday, 2nd July.

Winners in each category will receive a £50 book token plus a £25 book token for their school libraries.  The two runners up in each category will receive a £15 book token plus a £10 book token for their school libraries.

The Competition is open to children and young people in Bristol and the Surrounding Area. All schools in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire are eligible. If your school is from further afield and would like to take part, please contact the organisers who will make a discretionary decision.

Further details about how enter are available on the Learning Zone at poetrybyheart.org.uk.