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Poetry Interpretation

Poetry Interpretation is a non-memorized event in which competitors choose a published piece of work that is not prose or drama. The piece should be cut to no more than 7 minutes. In each round of competition the competitors will read their pieces (along with a brief introduction that should be memorized and is also counted for time). During the performance and/or after each person is finished reading, the judge puts notes on the ballots. After all competitors are finished reading, the judge ranks all the speakers. The competitor should be familiar enough with the piece so as to be able to read it without stumbling or misspeaking. However, the competitor must at the least give the impression of looking at the book (usually a small binder with a hard copy of the piece); if the competitor fails to do so, then they will usually not be ranked well.

Judges of this event should look for:

1. Smooth and well rehearsed impression.

2. Facial expression of the competitors.

3. Looking at the book.

4. Eye Contact.

5. Use of intonation, different voices for characters, and consistency of characters.

6. Gestures that enhance the performance.

7. Limited to no (depending on state regulations) lower body movements.

8. How well the competitor makes the piece come alive.

9. How well the piece suits the competitor.

10. Overall effect of the piece.

If the judge is so caught up in the piece that they forget to write comments or to properly check time, then this usually indicates a good performance.

Poetry Ballot - Blank

Sample Poetry Ballot
UIL Poetry Categories
Criteria for Evaluating Poetry Performers
Hereford Orators© 2007
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