Charles Mellin, La Paix et les Arts

Concours de récitation poétique: Results

We are pleased to announce the winners of our 2014 Concours de récitation poétique, as chosen by our panel of judges. 2014 Poetry Results Flyer.

Concours de récitation poétique: Deadlines

The number of contestants is limited, and as we are expecting a large turnout, we will abide by the following timeline. High school students must be registered by their teachers; college students may register themselves individually or their professors may register them.

Concours de récitation poétique: Divisions and Schedule

Students will read in order of level, as follows:
  1. French 2 HS students
  2. French 3 HS students
  3. French AP students
  4. Lower-division college students
  5. Upper-division college students
Native or near-native French speakers are not eligible to compete for prizes in these divisions. Teachers are responsible for informing me if any student is native or near-native; if there are sufficient numbers, we may be able to have a separate division for them.

Event schedule.
(Schedule depends in part on how quickly students read and whether there are any no-shows; students are encouraged to attend the entire event. The following times are estimates only; students who have not arrived by the start of their level will not be allowed to compete in their division, although they may still read their poem hors concours.)

10:00 ∼ 11:30 Hors concours readings, French 2 and French 3 competitions
11:00 ∼ 12:30 Hors concours readings, AP French and college competitions
12:30 ∼ 2:00 Conclusion of readings, Refreshments, Judges' conference, Award ceremony

Judging Criteria

Students will be judged on diction, clarity, and expression. The following factors will be considered:

voyelles orales et nasales; e muet; semi-voyelles; consonnes; détente finale; R;
enchainement et liaisons; intonation et rythme

volume; contact visuel; gestes; présence; compréhension du texte; versification; créativité


The sponsoring organizations -- CSULA Department of Modern Languages and Literatures; MCLASC, the Modern and Classical Language Association of Southern California; and AATF-SC, the American Association of Teachers of French - Southern California Chapter-- have generously funded the contest including the venue, refreshments, and certificates for all participants, as well as some prizes. We are also very grateful to local businesses and cultural organizations who have donated additional prizes for the winners.

There will be at least one winner on each of the above levels; second- and third-place prizes as well as honorable mentions will be awarded on levels with sufficient numbers of participants and meritorious performances.
Our prizes include:
and more!

Preparing your students

There are many ways to prepare your students to participate in the poetry contest. For example: For some sample classroom activities and techniques for using poetry in high school classes, download my presentation on "La poésie en cours de lycée" from the MCLASC 2013 Jamboree.

Choosing a poem

Students may take a copy of their poem to the podium, but delivery is vastly improved when the poem has been memorized through practice.

We recommend that high school and lower-division college students choose a 14-24 line poem; third- and fourth-year college students, if they wish, may select a slightly longer poem, of 24-48 verses. The length of the poem is unimportant if the poem is well-delivered.

Advice to students: Choose a poem that you enjoy and that has some meaning for you. The better you understand your poem, the better your delivery will be, so you might want to search for a translation, a commentary, etc. You can also find youtube videos of poems; listen to a few versions of your chosen poem both to improve your pronunciation and to get a sense of how different deliveries change the impact of the poem. The lists below are given in rough chronological order, and are only examples of some of the best-known French poems and poets from each period. I have provided links to a number of different types of sites, from simple texts to commentaries and recitations with music and video.

Les Grands Classiques and 2014 Theme

Students may choose any poem, and it is great to see the variety of poems chosen. These lists are intended for teachers and students who are not sure where to start. All of these poems are lovely in recitation and highlight the sonority of the French language. The second group of poems is recommended only for advanced students because of their length or complexity, but a longer poem is not automatically a better choice; the poems in the first group are classics that could be delivered beautifully by students at either level.

Classic poems for intermediate students, listed chronologically Classic poems for advanced students, listed chronologically 2014 Theme Each year we offer links to poems on a specific theme, in order to give repeat contestants or teachers some ideas for new poems. Our 2014 theme is Liberté. Some specific suggested poems:

Previous Contest Winners:

Winners in the 2014 French Poetry Recitation Contest

Winners in the 2013 French Poetry Recitation Contest

News Release about 2013 College Division Winner
2014 French Poetry Recitation Contest

The Department of Modern Languages and Literatures
at CSU Los Angeles,
in conjunction with MCLASC
and AATF-SC,
is pleased to announce our second annual
French Poetry Recitation Contest,
Saturday, February 22, 2014, 10 am -2 pm,
on the CSU Los Angeles campus.

The contest is open to high school, community college, and university students.
  • Contestants must register by deadlines below.
  • Each student recites one poem, chosen in advance.
  • Students compete within divisions based on level.
  • Judges award prizes to up to three winners in each division.
  • The AATF-SC will award a special prize to an overall winner.
  • Additional students may win prizes for honorable mention.