Concours de récitation poétique: General Information
Feb 24 update: Registered teachers and college students should have gotten an informational email on February 24. All information on students (name, poem, level, etc.) must be received by February 25 in order for students to participate. If you did not receive either the Feb 13 or the Feb 24 email, contact the organizer immediately at firstname.lastname@example.org.The French Poetry Recitation Contest is an annual event co-sponsored by the Modern Languages Department at CSU Los Angeles, MCLASC, and the AATF-SC. This year, we are delighted to also receive support from the French Consulate in Los Angeles. If you have participated before, welcome back! If it is your first time participating, please read carefully all the information on this page. The contest is open to all high school and college French students in the Los Angeles area, subject to space and time limitations. Teachers are encouraged to practice poetry recitation and discussion in class with all students. If numbers must be limited, you can hold in-class contests to choose your school's official candidates.
Songs, etc. : Only poetic recitations are eligible for competition. However, any students who wish to sing or dramatize a poem, either individually or in a group, are very welcome to do so hors concours, instead of or in addition to an official entry. Such performances will be scheduled between divisions.
Judges: Teachers who do not have students to participate this year but are interested in judging the contest, or simply wish to observe it, are welcome! Contact the organizer.
Flyer: To download this year's flyer to post in your classroom, click here.
Prizes!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 in each division; second- and third-place prizes as well as honorable mentions will be awarded on levels with sufficient numbers of participants and meritorious performances.
Prizes to be offered include (this list will be updated as we receive additional donations!):
- Poetry anthologies awarded to the lauréats by the French Consulate of Los Angeles!
- Hardcover graphic novels by French authors translated into English, donated by the publisher Humanoids, Inc.!
- Book gift certificates donated by MCLASC and CSULA Department of MLL!
- Special surprise gift basket from the AATF-SC!
- Theater tickets to The Madwoman of Chaillot (Giraudoux) and Our American Cousin at Parson's Nose Theater!
- Movie tickets to the American Cinematheque!
- Theater tickets to A Noise Within's production of Figaro!
Concours de récitation poétique: DeadlinesSpace, time, and budget restrictions limit the number of participants, and as the contest grows each year, we will abide by the following procedures and deadlines to allow participation by the greatest number of schools. High school students must be registered by their teachers; college students may register themselves individually or their professors may register them.
- By Thursday, February 12 : Email the organizer (Gretchen Angelo, email@example.com) to register your school's participation. Indicate how many students on each level wish to participate. We cannot tell, until this initial stage has ended, whether we must limit participation to 2 or 3 students per level per school. At this stage, you should submit the full number of your students who want to participate, because it is possible that on some or all levels, we will have no restrictions; if it turns out that we do not have room for all, this timeline will allow you to hold elimination contests within your classes to choose your school's representatives. However, please make this number as accurate as possible, so that we do not end up limiting numbers based on inflated participation numbers in the first stage of registration.
(Special Bonus! Parson's Nose Theater Company has generously donated two tickets to their English-language production of Jean Giraudoux's Madwoman of Chaillot, running Feb 7 - Mar 1, as a door prize for timely first-stage registration! If you register by February 10, simply indicate the names of those students wishing to be entered in the drawing; the winner will be notified on February 11 so that they can see the play any of the last three weekends in February!)
- On Friday, February 13: Teachers will be notified of number of contestants allowed per school and of the expected timeline of competition.
- By Wednesday, February 25 : Teachers must submit the exact names of contestants, so that I can prepare the program and participation certificates. Please verify these names on the sample program that will be ready to view on Thursday, February 26, so that your students are listed correctly.
Concours de récitation poétique: Divisions and ScheduleStudents will read in order of level, as follows:
- French 2 HS students
- French 3 HS students
- French 4 / French AP students
- Lower-division college students
- Upper-division college students
(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 if they wish to do so.)
10:00 ∼ 11:30 French 2 and French 3 competitions
11:30 ∼ 1:00 AP French and college competitions
1:00 ∼ 2:00 Conclusion of readings, Refreshments, Judges' conference, Award ceremony
Judging CriteriaStudents 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
Preparing your studentsThere are many ways to prepare your students to participate in the poetry contest. For example:
- Make poetry part of the curriculum;
- Model poems' reading for them, paying attention to all the items listed in the rubric
- Analyze the texts carefully so they have a good understanding of what they will be reading
- Give extra credit to students willing to participate, whatever their level of success
- Remind them that it looks good on college and scholarship applications
- Make sure they pick a text that matches their proficiency
- Have them practice in groups and individually
- Organize mock or runoff contests in the classroom
- Have students take turns judging each other's performances
- Make sure that the whole school is aware of your competition
Choosing a poemStudents 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 2015 ThemeStudents 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
- Ronsard: "A Cassandre" ("Mignonne, allons voir...")
- Chenier, "Sans parents, sans amis..."
- Nerval, "Fantaisie"
- Hugo, "Demain, dès l'aube"
- Baudelaire, "Invitation au voyage"
- Verlaine, "Ariette oubliée 3" ("Il pleure dans mon coeur")
- Rimbaud, "Sensation"
- Apollinaire, "Le pont Mirabeau"
- Louise Labé, Sonnet 8 ou 14
- DuBellay, "Heureux qui comme Ulysse ..."
- Hugo, "Exil"
- Lamartine, "La fenetre de la maison paternelle"
- Leconte de Lisle, "Solvet Seclum"
- Nerval, "Vers dorés"
- Baudelaire, "La chevelure"
- Aragon, "Les mains d'Elsa"
- François-René de Chateaubriand, "Nous verrons"
- Esther Granek, "Contradictions"
- Alphonse de Lamartine, "Le Lac"
- Alfred de Musset, "A Alfred Tattet"
- Gérard de Nerval, "Le ballet des heures"
- Sully Prudhomme, "Un rendez-vous"
- Jean Richepin, "Epitaphe pour n'importe qui"
- Pierre de Ronsard, "Comme on voit sur la branche..."
- Emile Verhaeren, "Vous m'avez dit, tel soir..."
Previous Contest Information and Winners:Winners in the 2014 French Poetry Recitation Contest
2014 Contest information and poems
Winners in the 2013 French Poetry Recitation Contest
News Release about 2013 College Division Winner
The Department of Modern Languages and Literatures
at CSU Los Angeles,
in conjunction with MCLASC and AATF-SC,
and with the support of the French Consulate in Los Angeles,
is pleased to announce our third annual
French Poetry Recitation Contest,
Saturday, February 28, 2015, 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.
- The French Consulate will award poetry anthologies to three lauréats.
- Additional students may win prizes for honorable mention.