The Art of Recitation
For those of you in Washington D.C. we recommend checking out the National Recitation Contest, currently underway at George Washington University's Lisner Auditorium. The contest, sponsored by the Poetry Foundation and the NEA, showcases high school students with an often unremarked talent. It's not slam poetry, it's not a monologue, and it's not debate.
I remember a friend in eleventh grade memorizing Shakespeare's "Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears" speech from Julius Caesar. The stunt seemed to me an act of extraordinary skill. Perhaps this is because my own recitation skills end at phone numbers (forget area codes). Even today I think the only work I've memorized would be Pound's "In the Station of the Metro," which doesn't really count. So I put the question to our readers: is there a poem you've memorized, or would like to?