Contest for the Best Recitation Poems T. S. Eliot's A dog is a dog. John Donne's A Lecture Upon The Shadow, and Donald Davie's Across the Bay are all good choices.
A poem in which an imagined speaker addresses a silent listener who is not generally the reader. Examples include Robert Browning's "My Last Duchess" and T.S. Eliot's "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock." Sometimes called a "monologue," but that term can also be used for poems in which a single character speaks alone, as in Christopher Marlowe's The Tragical History of Dr. Faustus or William Shakespeare's Hamlet.
Monologues are common in poetry, especially in modern poetry, because they allow for great freedom in expression without restricting the poet to merely describing what is before them. By imagining how someone might speak under certain circumstances, poets are able to create narratives that could never exist outside of their own minds. Poets have used this technique since ancient times; some examples include Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, Virgil's Aeneid, and Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy.
In addition to these classical works, many more modern poems consist entirely of monologues. Some examples include: Wallace Stevens' "The Comedian as the Letter C" and "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird"; John Keats' "Ode on a Grecian Urn"; and Carl Sandburg's "The Minuteman".
The goal of recitation is to convey the meaning of a poem through its words. A profound absorption of the poetry, rather than exaggerated motions, will be required for a good presentation. Appropriate interpretation improves the audience's knowledge and pleasure of the poetry without overshadowing its language. Interpretation can also reveal aspects of the poet's thought and feeling that are not apparent from just reading the text.
Recitation takes many forms, including reading poems aloud, singing them, paraphrasing them, etc. However, interpretation always plays a role in recital performances because each listener brings his or her own ideas and feelings to bear on the poetry being read or sung. These interpretations may be explicit (such as when an actor reads a part while another actor provides commentary) or they may be more subtle (such as when a musician plays along with a recording of someone else singing). Either way, interpretation helps the audience understand the poetry better.
Poetry readings and songs are important parts of culture throughout history and today. Poets and musicians often have great influence over their audiences because of their ability to express complex ideas and emotions in simple language. Indeed, some poets claim that one of the purposes of their work is to help others understand difficult concepts by explaining them in easy-to-grasp images or metaphors!
Poetry in acrostic form requires that the poet use each letter of the alphabet in turn. The poet begins with the first letter of the desired word (the acrostics) and builds up from there, choosing additional letters as they see fit. Many poems using this form also include alliteration or assonance (repeating sounds within words).
Acrostic poems are useful for creating a feeling of closure after writing only a few lines. The end of the poem often includes a complete thought wrapped in language derived only from the first letter of the line. For example, if the first letter of the line is "a", the poem might conclude with the word "lessa". This makes the poem feel more complete than one written in a traditional form where several lines would be needed to express the same idea.
Acrostic poems can be used in teaching settings to help students understand the basics of poetry by analyzing works of famous poets. For example, students could analyze the acrostics found in William Shakespeare's Sonnets.