I was visiting achockablog today (gosh it’s been a long time), and I came across a link to an interesting article in the Times. You may know about Daisy Goodwin. She’s edited a bunch of poetry anthologies that have met with quite a bit of widespread success in the UK. So her latest project is called Off by Heart, a poetry recital competition for all children in Britain between 7-11. Any child may enter the contest, and eventually 12 finalists from all over the country will head to Oxford to participate in master classes with actors and poets as coaches. In her Times article, Goodwin writes about how a poem learned in childhood most often stays with you for life. I’m in complete agreement. I memorized The Jabberwocky and Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening because my dad made me when I was about ten, and I can still launch right into either one at the drop of a hat, word for word. Apparently they’re also going to make a documentary, following the competition all the way through to the winning performance.
Maybe some of these baby Brits will end up as good as these American high school kids, finalists in the Poetry Out Loud competition. Be sure to check out the amazing audio slide show at this link to hear some outstanding performances. Goosebumpy-good.