Phi Beta Cons

What an Idea!

The Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest, sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, and recently completed for this year with the awarding of $50,.000 in scholarships to the winners, is a truly wonderful idea. Really a stroke of genius. It takes the desire to perform that has been cultivated in many of today’s high-school students and uses that to get them interested in good poetry and eager to explore the background of individual poets. Further, it gets young people to memorize poetry and recite it aloud, increasing their capacity for creative appreciation of language. It’s done through the high schools, so it involves the educational establishment and probably benefits even the students who choose not to compete. And the very existence of the long list of possible choices of poems to recite is a plus in itself, and will help familiarize students with our poetic heritage. Do ideas get any better than this?    

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