Poetry by Heart Competition

Poetry by Heart Competition

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,

Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun…

On the first truly autumnal morning of this term, pupils across the whole school celebrated National Poetry Day – a worthy and appropriate jubilation given that at Caterham, pupils each year so embrace and enjoy poetry in our annual recitation competition.

This year, our tribute to poetry was expressed through a delightful film, created by Upper Sixth pupils and Presidents of the Literature Society, Beryl and Sanjana. The beautifully crafted and poignant exploration of poetry’s value and meaning reflected our pupils’ intellectual engagement with and indeed reverence for this ever-evolving and ever-enthralling form of literature right here at Caterham. However, poetry is not a lofty, archaic or even inaccessible form – last week’s popular Literature Society talk from Anna Gardener on ‘The Poetry of Instagram’ showed how it has developed and adapted to the modern world.

On National Poetry Day, we launched this year’s Poetry Recitation Competition; an annual event which gives every pupil at Caterham the opportunity to learn a new poem by heart and perform it to their class. This is, undoubtedly, a challenge: for some, having the guts to stand up before their peers is hard; for others, committing the words to memory is tricky. However, every year we are so proud of and thrilled by the effort that goes in and the performances that result.

Last year’s final was the best yet and so it will be a challenge for our pupils to improve upon that but given the range of ideas pupils are suggesting for their recitations – from rap poetry to musical ballads – this is set to be our most diverse and thrilling competition yet, with the final on Friday 19 October at 1.00pm in the Wilberforce Hall, all parents are welcome to attend. And if all this is not enough, this year we have opened up the competition to parents, who are all enthusiastically invited to join in the fray and support their children by also learning a poem and sending in films of their recitations. For the best parent performance, there can only be one prize – as Robert Louis Stevenson affirmed, “Wine is bottled poetry”. Pupils and parents alike: get reading, get learning, and get reciting!

Best of luck to all our competitors and Happy National Poetry Day!

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