Tom Freeman and Emily Greaves have just been awarded prizes in the county round of the Poetry by Heart competition. Their success comes hot on the heels of acclaim at national level for our students Harriet Short, Freya Leech, Yusuf Hassen and teacher, Mrs. E. Sandys (previously reported).
Back in January, at our in-house school competition, our judges could not determine which of the two had performed the superior recitation, so Tom and Emily were jointly awarded our KS5 prize. And it seems that there was little to separate them at county (Greater Manchester) level either, as both received runner-up prizes, with Tom receiving a commendation from the judges. The judges made their decisions based on videoed performances of Tom and Emily’s recitations.
Here’s what the had to say about Tom:
Poem choices: ‘Ozymandias’ by Percy Bysshe Shelley (1818) and ‘God, a poem’ by James Fenton (1983) ‘Ozymandias’ is a relatively short, well-known poem and a GCSE set text; we see plenty of recitations of it, so it’s refreshing to see a performance which attempts something distinctive, foregrounding the potential of its conversational cadences in the discourse markers and understated humour, rather than clanking along with metrical regularity and grandiose seriousness. The interpretation includes some halting timing which overbalances into idiosyncrasy but there is plenty to enjoy and admire in this response. Some of the same profile applies to ‘God a poem’, which is delivered thoughtfully and with attention to the switch in persona. In both there is the sense of an original approach and puzzling out of nuances.
And about Emily, they made these comments:
Poem 1: ‘ The Ballad of Reading Gaol’ by Oscar Wilde ( 1898): This has been a popular choice of poem in Poetry By Heart and it is always interesting to see how contestants interpret it. Emily gave a poised, well-paced recitation responding to the shifts and nuances in the unfolding narrative while avoiding stridency and melodrama. This was a confident, controlled poem performance and we enjoyed it.
Poem 2: ‘ A Life In Dreams’ by Jacob Sam-La Rose ( 2010): Again this is a popular choice but every thoughtfully prepared recitation brings its own insights. Emily gave a careful reflective performance that successfully conveyed the poem’s meaning, including its sense of good humoured hope.
Congratulations to you both!