Poetry, the literature of wordsmiths.  Poetry is a wonderful event because, if you are using good literature, there is a depth and complexity to the language that is fascinating to explore and wonderful to convey to an audience.  Sometimes the poetry presented is one long poem other times it is a collection or program of poetry.

If you have never heard of a program let me explain.  The competitor will find several poems on a similar topic and weave them together or juxtapose them in such a way that they build an argument.  Granted sometimes those arguments are weak, sometimes they are confusing, and sometimes they don't exist at all (or you really have to work to find it).  But the idea is that all literature makes an argument for or against something.

When you get ready to build a program of poetry think about what message you want your audience to get from your program.  Sometimes programs celebrate a famous person's life (Ali, Monroe, Maye West, Charles Shultz, Jim Henson) nd the message is usually something like "Hey there was more to me than you saw" or something that lets us see beyond what the average person would have known walking into the round.  Sometimes programs argue for or against a particular position or social stance.  For example, a number of programs have explored eating disorders and how there is social pressure to be thin.  Many have looked at social injustices such as racism or sexism and how it has changed over the years (not necessarily gotten better just taken different forms).

When you start collecting poetry for a program don't be afraid to collect too much.  You can always go back and cut out, it is sometimes hard to find a poem twice unless you have written down the title and author and possibly even the publication it was in.  I have no problem with you coming in with 30 minutes of materials and working with me to cut it down to a 9 minute program.

I will warn you that literary analysis coaching sessions with me usually end with the student walking out rubbing his/her head.  I can make your brain implode.

Check out the Finding Literature link for ideas on where to start looking.



Sample Programs


Train Program


Touch Program



Accept No Substitutes