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Reading Poetry in English

Reading Poetry in English

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Please, click here to find the outcome of our training - listen to ICAN Club participants reciting a poem

This painting by the Russian artist Fyodor Bronnikov depicts Horace, the leading Roman lyric poet during the time of Augustus (also known as Octavian) reciting his poems to Maecenas, Octavian's right-hand man in civil affairs. Due to his outstanding verbal skills Horace became a spokesman for the new regime.

The art of expressive reciting has been appreciated in all human civilizations. The individuals, who demonstrate this, are awarded and promoted, and live in people's memory long after their physical death. For instance, people we still remember such brilliant orators as Aristogeiton, Demosthenes, Cicero, Julius Caesar  and others from the ancient times.

Making words work, get into the hearts and minds of people might look an exceptional gift, while, in fact, everyone can and should develop this important skill. There are two key issues to deal with: (1) clear articulation and voice quality and (2) personal interpretation of the text one is going to recite. Placing emphasis on different words can utterly change the meaning. You can watch this video to see, how the familiar Shakespear's soliloquy "To be, or not to be: that is the question" can acquire different meanings due to pauses and logical stress.

Now, listen to this young genius and think what makes her reciting so brilliant. Is it because she articulates? Or because she speaks slowly and makes pauses? Or the feelings the girl puts into words?

And in these videos below you can find more examples of remarkable reciting:

If By Rudyard Kipling read by JAYME LOUIS LIARDI and by from Poetry Animate YouTube Channel

And here are 30 more poems everyone should know

This was the preparation. Now about the event.

In the Club we did some training:
- articulation exercises to remember the correct position of the tongue and lips for   English sounds;
- dramatized tongue twisters, pretending that they have a deep philosophical  meaning - it was fun;
- watched and analyse some of the above videos;
- discussed the target poem and learned to pronounce the words correctly. 

Reading improves articulation

Here is our outcome:

You will hear four students reciting the same poem Valentine by Carol Ann Duffy

And also a video featuring Alexander Svishchenkov reciting this poem.

Reciting Poetry at an English lesson

Remember, that it took us not longer than ten minutes to rehearse the poem itself. It was nearly improvisation. What do you think? Can you do the same? Can you do better? 
You can accept the challenge: record your reading, upload it to any file sharing site, and send the link to ICAN Club
to upload. Use this form here

Please, sign up before midnight on Monday Sept 19. If you cannot come, please, cancel by calling +375 29 2592164. No other ways of cancellations are accepted and failure to cancel before 6 pm on Tuesday will result in 50% charge. 

*Credit: Painting by Fyodor Bronnikov Public Domain, Wikipedia
About Author

Valiantsina (Val) is the founder and leader of ICAN Club, the owner and the admin of this site. She is the person to approach whenever you need help or advice. Val is an experienced teacher of English, who has worked in a variety of contexts and capacities and also as an interpreter/translator for international organizations, such as the World Bank, UNESCO, the Council of Europe, etc. She is an ideal candidate for cross-border creative educational projects.

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