Poetry by Heart

The Poetry by Heart competition is very exciting and gripping due to having so many different rounds. The first round was competing against other sixth formers internally at Concord, with each person performing two poems. When it was announced I had come first place for that initial round, video recordings of my performances were sent off to Poetry by Heart. Their panel of expert judges then ranked my performances along with hundreds of others from different schools in order to select the top performer from every county in England.

Many nerve-wracking weeks after my recordings had been sent, the news arrived that I’d been selected as the top performer in Shropshire! This meant I would continue to the national finals, representing our county. The national final was to be a day event held in London.

However, a few days later that dream slipped further and further away as covid-19 and a national lockdown became more of a reality. This situation has been confusing for everyone, but I want to thank Mrs Wear for her support. She’s helped me to understand the competition information, which kept fluctuating and being re-edited due to covid-19.

Eventually Poetry by Heart decided to judge the performers from each county through our initial video recordings. This whole competition has been a rollercoaster of a ride, but I felt like the track stopped twisting and turning to shoot upwards when I heard that out of all 48 counties, my performance was ranked in the top 10 nationally!

Poetry by Heart have said they’ll post me a certificate and prize, but most excitingly, they have invited me to attend an event they’re holding next academic year where I’ll have the opportunity to perform my poems on stage! Both of my video recording performances will also become available publicly on the Poetry by Heart website.

Although the competition this year was a little messier than anyone anticipated due to covid-19, I will always value this experience, as it has helped me channel my love for performing into a fulfilling competition that loves poetry (possibly even more than I do!) – I have also strengthened my ‘muscle’ of patience when waiting for the results from different rounds.

Lastly, I want to mention the Speaking Society club at Concord. SpeakSoc has always helped me to grow as a performer, taking me from beginner level to where I am now. I think performing is such an underrated life skill. I feel like it’s embedded into society and people often use it as a test of talent such as in job interviews. I’m sure I will be using it a lot in the future.

Rose – 6.1