Jun 9, 2007

high school graduation poems, take two

Looking for high school graduation poems? Wanting to know the right way to read a poem at graduation? You've come to the right place. Follow these three steps to success.

First, learn the rules for selecting a good graduation poem.

Second, read a poetry anthology or pick up a book by a quality poet. Skim, then peruse. If you're unacquainted with poetry, you can't go wrong looking at this quality list. Note that these poems aren't about graduation, but about life, love, the universe, and everything else--in other words, what graduates really care about, and what you should really be talking about anyway. The power of poetry is its ability to reinvent the world, to see and hear things in a new way. Same with education. Same with your speech.

If you're still uncomfortable with poetry, or if you have no experience reading poetry, stop. There's no law that says you have to read a poem at graduation. There is a law that says you shouldn't if you're only going to mess it up.

Third, practice reading the poem. Record yourself. Listen to your intonation, your timing, your pauses. Do you read it smoothly, or does it seem halting? Do you read over-metrically, if the poem is metered, or does it flow naturally, after the punctuation? Beware of over-emphasizing rhythm and rhyme.

Don't worry if a poem seems too long; you can always choose an excerpt. Be mindful of time. Unless you are Winston Churchill reincarnated, you have five to seven minutes, max, for the entirety of your speech.

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