Recita Finals

14th November 2023
BY Richard Stillman, English Don

The year’s Recita final in School took place on Friday 10 November, where a packed audience enjoyed some exceptional spoken-word experiences. The judge, poet Dr Julian Stannard, described it as a ‘memorable evening’ with all the finalists ‘offering up pieces with bravura, style and courage.’

The Lower School competition for the Jack Parr Award / Simon Eliot Cup was won by Hugo for a lively recitation of W.H. Auden’s ‘O Tell Me the Truth About Love,’ which had ‘both spirit and control’. Second place went to Harry’s rendition of another of Auden’s poems, ‘The Fall of Rome,’ and third went to Sherlock with Don Paterson’s ‘Rain’. Dr Stannard was pleased that many contemporary poets were included in the lineup.

The Upper School pupils compete for the King’s Silver Medal for English Speech. This was, as Dr Stannard realised, an invidious competition to judge as the standard was very high and he was bound to ‘make more enemies than friends with his adjudication!’

In third place was Will with a powerful, pacy rendition of ‘Prayer Before Birth’ by Louise MacNeice. It was a close-run competition but second place went to Darcy for a wonderful recital of ‘A Dialogue Between Self and Soul’ by W.B. Yeats, and first place went to Tim with an excerpt from Amanda Gorman’s ‘The Hill We Climb.’ This poem was performed at Joe Biden’s inauguration, and Dr Stannard thought Tim’s performance brought out the dignity and power of the rhetorical tradition this poem inherits.

The organiser, Mr Stillman, would like to thank all the pupils who took part in the competition, the div dons for running the heats, the English department who judged the semi-finals and Dr Stannard for his witty and perceptive comments and judgement.


Jack Parr Award / Simon Eliot Cup

1st place - Hugo - 'O Tell Me the Truth About Love' by W.H Auden

2nd place - Harry - 'The Fall of Rome' by W.H Auden

3rd place - Sherlock - 'Rain' by Don Paterson

King’s Silver Medal for English Speech

1st place - Tim - 'The Hill We Climb' by Amanda Gordon

2nd place - Darcy - 'A Dialogue Between Self and Soul' by W.B. Yeats

3rd place - Will - 'Prayer Before Birth' by Louise MacNeice


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