The Sunday Magazine

Reciting poetry

Memorizing and reciting poetry used to be something all Canadians learned to do at school. Today it has largely fallen out of fashion, but an organization called "Poetry in Voice" is trying to reverse the trend, with an annual poetry recital competition. Over 40,000 students took part this year; we hear three prize-winners recite poems by Lorna Crozier, Ken Babstock and Marianne Moore.
The three finalists from the 2015 "Poetry in Voice" competition held in Montreal, Quebec: Kiera Sandrock (left), Ayo Akinfenwa (centre), Olivia Perry (right). (Credit: Susan Moss Photography)

Memorizing and reciting poetry used to be something all Canadians learned to do at school. Today it has largely fallen out of fashion. "Poetry in Voice" is doing something remarkable to reverse that trend, through an annual nation-wide competition. 

In stage one, more than 40 thousand high-school students memorized and recited a poem in their classrooms. And this week, nine finalists - chosen from those 40 thousand initial hopefuls - performed in front of a live audience in Montreal. Some recited in English, some in French, and some in both languages. They were evaluated for their skill and interpretation. We air the top three prize-winning performances in English. 

Ayo Akinfenwa of Toronto, who won third prize, recited the poem "Fear of Snakes" by Lorna Crozier. 
Kiera Sandrock of Ottawa, second prize winner, recited "Fire watch" by Ken Babstock. And Olivia Perry of Lark Harbour, Newfoundland and Labrador, won first prize reciting "Poetry" by Marianne Moore. 

"Poetry in Voice" was founded by The Griffin Trust For Excellence In Poetry.


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