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Student Contributions

Emily King
Upper Sixth
Hallward's House

Modern Languages Poetry Evening

Modern Languages Poetry Evening

As always with a school event, you never know quite what to expect. This most certainly applies in this case. The modern languages poetry evening has been held annually for several years, however this year there was a twist; a cup to be awarded and a £50 prize for the winner, judged by Dr Waller, thus making this years’ poetry evening a competition definitely worth winning.

With a range of languages including French, Spanish, German, Italian, Chinese and even Portuguese, we were certainly in for the long haul. Organiser Madame Webb nicely set the ball rolling by reciting the first poem of the evening in her mother tongue, entitled ‘Complainte amoureuse’. Even Mylene (the French assistant) took part, performing a Quebec poem called ‘Mon pays’ — but then it was to the students themselves. Now, I’m going to be honest; the programme had a list of about 50 pupils ready and raring to read their chosen poem, and so I am going to gloss over a few of these and instead tell you about some of the more serious contenders for the title.

Mr Hodges gave us the only Portuguese poem of the evening and although he was probably the only one who actually understood it, it definitely didn’t deter us from enjoying the poetic sound of the language itself. Hugo Lau also gave us the only representation of Chinese through ‘The Ballad of Mulan’, a long poem that Hugo managed to make beautifully lyrical through his performance. Throughout the rest of the evening we were entertained with the likes of; French poets Jacques Prévert and Charles Baudelaire, famous Spanish poet Pablo Neruda, Italian poets Giacomo Leopardi and Michele Ciorra, as well as German poets including Jakob von Hoddis and Eduard Morike.

It has to be said that as a result of the competitive aspect of this years’ poetry evening, some people definitely went all out — not only learning their poem of choice off by heart, but learning a considerably long poem and really putting a lot of effort into performing it rather than just reading it. Credit was justly given by Dr Waller to those who really stood out, and were highly commended both for their accent in their chosen language, and for their overall performance. However the time came for the winner to be announced and this, in my opinion, was correctly given to James Heaven for his performance of ‘Nanas de cebolla’ or ‘Onion lullaby’ (in Spanish) by Miguel Hernandez. This year there were, without doubt, some outstanding performances from many members of the Sixth Form worth noting; Chris Weale not only learnt two poems (one in French and one in Spanish) but he also performed them both with ease, Julian von Hansmann also portrayed Apollinaire’s ‘Le Pont Mirabeau’ with notable class, and finally Dasha Gunchenko was word perfect in her recitation of her German poem ‘Das Karussell Jardin de Luxembourg’ which she spoke fluently and with confidence. This year we really did see the full potential of the students taking Modern Languages and this was truly celebrated in style.

11 March 2011

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