Poetry for Life: Judging Criteria

Student performances in all rounds of the competition must be judged and scored using these criteria. Please note that these have changed slightly from the criteria used in 2014-15: we have tweaked the scoring and made the poem difficulty category a tiebreak matter.

PHYSICAL PRESENCE: 1-10 points

This category evaluates the student’s entrance and presence on stage.  A strong performance will be confident, poised and engaging; the student will have eye contact, a relaxed posture and a strong stage presence.  It is essential that the student announces the title and poet at the start.

BODY LANGUAGE: 1-10 points

In this category appropriate body language and expression are to be assessed.  In a strong performance all gestures and facial expressions are natural and enhance the delivery of the poem.  The audience is highly and visibly engaged.

VOICE:
Articulation & Projection:  1-10 points
Intonation, Pitch and Pace: 1-10 points

In this category the auditory nature of the recitation is evaluated. Consider the student’s volume, pace, rhythm, intonation, pronunciation, enunciation and clarity of projection.  In a strong performance, all words are pronounced appropriately and clearly in the student’s natural accent and the volume, rhythm and intonation greatly enhance the recitation. Pacing is appropriate to the poem.

UNDERSTANDING: 1-10 points

This category is to evaluate whether the student exhibits an understanding of the poem is his or her recitation. A strong performance relies on a powerful internalization of the poem rather than distracting dramatic gestures. In a strong performance, the sense of the poem is powerfully and clearly conveyed to the audience. The student displays an interpretation that deepens and enlivens the poem. Meanings, messages, allusions, irony, tones of voice and other nuances are captured by the performance. A low score is awarded if the interpretation obscures the meaning of the poem or makes use of affected character voices and accents, inappropriate tone and inflection, singing, distracting and excessive gestures, or unnecessary emotion.

OVERALL PERFORMANCE:  1-10 points

This category is to evaluate the overall success of the performance, the degree to which the recitation has become more than the sum of its parts. Has the student captivated the audience with the language of the poem? Did the student bring the audience to a better understanding of the poem? Did the contestant’s physical presence enhance the recitation, engaging the audience through appropriate body language, confidence and eye contact? Does the student understand and show mastery of the art of recitation? The judges will use this score to measure how impressed they were by the recitation, and whether the recitation has honoured the poem. A low score will be awarded for recitations that are poorly presented, ineffective in conveying the meaning of the poem, or conveyed in a manner inappropriate to the poem.

ACCURACY: 1-4 marks

A separate judge will mark missed or incorrect words during the recitation. Students will score a full 4 marks for a word-perfect recitation; 3 for a small number of errors which do not significantly affect meaning and/or flow; 2 for a recitation where the errors do affect meaning and/or flow; 1 for a recitation where occasional use is made of the prompter; 0 for a recitation which requires considerable prompting.

TOTAL out of 64 for each poem

ADDITIONAL CONSIDERATIONS IN THE EVENT OF A CLOSE TIE:
Variety, difficulty, and diversity

In the event of a very close tie between two or more students, judges should consider the level of challenge the student has chosen. This might be indicated in the variety of poems selected for recitation, with different styles, moods, language varieties, voices or settings. It might also be indicated by poem difficulty. A poem with difficult content conveys complex, sophisticated ideas, that the student will be challenged to grasp and express. A poem with difficult language will have complexity of diction and syntax, metre and rhyme scheme, and shifts in tone or mood. Poem length is also considered in difficulty but bear in mind that longer poems are not necessarily more difficult than shorter ones. Judges may also consider the diversity of a student’s recitations with this score; a student is less likely to score well in this category when judges note that a student’s style of interpretation remains the same regardless of poem choice or challenge.

 

 

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www.poetryforlife.co.za - 23 April 2019

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