Alphonse Osbert, La Muse au Lever du Soleil, 1918
Fifth Annual Poetry Recitation Contest: Program and WinnersCongratulations to all who participated in the Fifth Annual French Poetry Recitation Contest held at Cal State LA!
Many thanks to our judges:
Antonia Rigaud, Higher Education and French Language Attachée, Consulate General of France in Los Angeles (all levels)
Anaïs Lintow, French Language Officer, Consulate General of France in Los Angeles (all levels)
Marie-Magdeleine Chirol, Vice President of Communications, AATF-SC (high school levels)
Inès du Cos de la Hitte, President, AATF-SC (college levels)
We are pleased to announce all our prize winners, and especially our Grand Prize High School winner, Charlotte Holder from Polytechnic School in Pasadena, for her reading of Jacques Prévert's "Familiale," and our Grand Prize College winner, Tahseen Takleh, for his reading of his own poem about Syria, "Je suis." All winners are listed in the files below:
Overall 2017 Contest Results
2017 Contest Results - College levels detail
2017 Contest Results - High school levels detail
Photos of the event can be found on the Facebook page of the Cal State LA Department of Modern Languages and Literatures.
The program can be downloaded here.
Thanks again to our sponsoring organizations and to EF International Language Centers and Taix Restaurant for their prize donations.
See you next year!
Concours de récitation poétique: General InformationThe French Poetry Recitation Contest is an annual event co-sponsored by the Modern Languages Department at Cal State L.A., MCLASC, the AATF-SoCal, and the French Mission for Culture and Higher Education in the United States. If you have participated before, welcome back! If it is your first time participating, please read carefully all the information on this page.
Contestants and observers: The contest is open to all high school and college French students in the Los Angeles area, subject to space and time limitations. Anyone may attend the contest as an audience member. Beginning students may wish to observe one year and compete the next. Family, friends, and Francophile community members are welcome! Contact Dr. Gretchen Angelo (firstname.lastname@example.org) for information on location and directions.
Songs, skits, speeches: Only recitations of literary poems are eligible for competition. However, we also invite individuals or groups to perform songs, skits, speeches, etc. in between divisions as judges confer; this can be done instead of or in addition to entering the recitation contest.
Directions and parking: click here.
Flyer: To download this year's flyer to post in your classroom, click here.
Prizes!All participants in the contest are eligible to enter a drawing for a one-week course in Paris or Nice (under-16: Nice only), including airfare, donated by EF International Language Centers, specializing in language immersion courses offered to individual students or teacher-led groups. Winner must be present at the time of the drawing.
The sponsoring organizations -- Cal State L.A. Department of Modern Languages and Literatures; MCLASC, the Modern and Classical Language Association of Southern California; and AATF-SoCal, the American Association of Teachers of French - Southern California Chapter -- have generously funded the contest including the venue, certificates for all participants, a grand prize for the college winner, and gift cards for second- and third-place winners. Additional prizes may be awarded as donated by local businesses and cultural organizations.
Our local business sponsors this year include Taix French restaurant in Echo Park, who has generously donated a $50 gift certificate.
The French Mission for Culture and Higher Education will award poetry anthologies to the lauréats in each division.
There will be at least one winner in each division with more than three participants; second- and third-place prizes as well as honorable mentions will be awarded on levels with sufficient numbers of participants and meritorious performances.
Concours de récitation poétique: DeadlinesSpace and time restrictions may limit the number of participants. In order to give students equal chances for participation and recognition, the following deadlines must be observed. High school students must be registered by their teachers; college students may register themselves individually or their professors may register them.
- As soon as possible, but definitely by Wednesday, February 15: Email the organizer (Gretchen Angelo, email@example.com) to register your school's participation. Indicate approximate numbers of students who wish to participate on each level. Unless we see a huge increase in preregistration compared to previous years, all students will be able to participate. Please make this number as precise as possible so that we can accurately predict the timeline. Also inform organizer of any students who wish to perform a song, skit, speech, etc.
- By Monday, February 20: Submit the exact names of contestants, as well as the poem each will read, so that the program and participation certificates can be prepared. You should receive a confirmation email within 24 hours, which you should check for accuracy. You must submit any corrections by Thursday, February 23.
Concours de récitation poétique: Divisions and ScheduleStudents will read in order of level. The following start times are now final.
Beginning at approximately 9:30 am
- French 2 high school students
- French 3 high school students
- French 4 / French 5 / AP high school students
- High school students who are native or heritage speakers* Judges' consultation on high school prizes
- Beginning college students
- Intermediate college students
- Advanced college students Judges' consultation on college prizes
Presentation and drawing for EF trip
Beginning at 11:45-12:00 pm
Awarding of prizes
All prizes will be awarded at the end of the contest, around 1:30 pm; if a student needs to leave early due to afternoon commitments, the teacher may inform the judges in advance and if the calculations are complete, we will try to award any winning student with his/her prize before departure.
Individual level start times: The start times for the overall high school and college divisions are fixed; the progress through each division cannot be predicted with exactitude as it depends on how fast students read, if there are no-shows, etc.. Students who have not arrived by the completion of their division will not be allowed to compete, although they may still read their poem hors concours if they wish to do so. Students in French 4 and 5 can assume that they will start after 10:30; advanced college students will probably not read until close to 1pm, but must arrive by 11:30 to participate in the drawing.
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 poemMost students choose to take a copy of their poem to the podium just in case, 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 longer poem, of 24-60 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 2017 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. The first sections contain well-known poems that are perennial favorites, for intermediate or advanced students; the last section offers some poems suggested as part of this year's theme, La Nature. Any literary poem originally written in the French language may be recited for competition. The competition excludes songs, poems translated from another language, and other forms of recitation such as speeches, but students may perform these as explained above.
All of the poems listed here 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 can be delivered beautifully by students at any 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"
Large numbers of Romantic poems take Nature as a theme. Hugo, Lamartine, Musset furnish great examples. Here are some other poems about Nature, just a selection to get you started:
- Charles d'Orléans, "Le temps a laissé son manteau"
- Du Bellay, "Je vis l'oiseau qui le soleil contemple"
- Wouters, "Entre naître et mourir"
- Noailles, "L'offrande à la nature"
- Baudelaire, "Correspondances"
- Coppée, "Mois de mars"
- Gautier, "La source" ou "Au bord de la mer"
- Verlaine, "Les coquillages"
- Senghor, "L'ouragan" ou "Brouillard"
- Kalyre Slam, "Immigration Mortelle"
- Poésie française par Webnet: 6000 poems, searchable by author, "Random poem" button also available.
- Poetica.fr, poems organized by theme
- Poésie-française.fr, poems searchable by poet; a few specific themes and poets are featured
- Wheaton College, Vive Voix, poems searchable by poet or verse; all accompanied by audio files.
Previous Contest Information and Winners:2016 Contest information and poems
Winners in the 2016 French Poetry Recitation Contest
2015 Contest information and poems
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
Sponsored by the
Department of Modern Languages and Literatures at Cal State LA in conjunction with
and The French Mission for Culture and Higher Education in the United States.