Appalachian Speech and Debate Championship

2021 — NSDA Campus, WV/US

Poetry Interpretation

Abbreviation POE
Format Speech
Entry Fee $10.00
Entry 1 competitors per entry

Event Description:



1. Time limit including introduction is a minimum of five minutes and a maximum of ten minutes with a thirty second grace. A contestant who does not fall within the time limit cannot be ranked first in the round.

2. Oral interpretations are perhaps the most difficult events to judge. Contrary to some beliefs, however, there is a basic separation of the categories of the interpretation. They are as follows:

A. Prose

This category places emphasis on the interpreter’s ability to share and recreate

the intent of the author for the audience; therefore, the interpreter of prose

selections should be concerned with suggestions of character and action. Prose

makes its appeal to the intellect. It is primarily concerned with what is said, not

with the manner of saying it.

B. Poetry

This category is similar to prose in its content; however, the primary emphasis

of poetry is usually placed on emotion rather than plot or action. This can of

course vary when the type of poetry being read is considered. It is characterized

by the nature and beauty of form.

3. Judges may be aided in their endeavors by following a simple philosophy:

Interpretation is not acting. The dividing line is hard to determine; however, a good way to determine this line is to remember that the literature is most important. When the interpreter draws more attention to himself or herself than the actual literature, he or she has crossed the line.

4. The interpreter will use a manuscript. He or she should refer to the script even though he or she has memorized the material. The use of physical objects or costume is prohibited.

5. During the reading of a selection the interpreter is not to move his or her feet. The contestant must refer to the manuscript that will remain in front of him or her, not to the side. If the contestant’s program consists of more than one selection, the contestant is permitted to take a step between pieces for transitional purposes only. Gestures are not to be the miming of action.

6. The student should provide an appropriate introduction to his or her material. The introduction should not exceed one minute and include the title of the material(s) and the author(s)’s name(s).

7. Cuttings may not be from plays.

8. The source of the material must be made available to the tournament director upon request. If the requested material cannot be provided, or if it is questionable or not credible, the student may not advance in the tournament or receive an award.

9. Material used in Prose or Poetry may not be used in Dramatic or Humorous Interpretation at the same tournament nor may a student use material used in a previous year.

10. A contestant in Poetry Interpretation may create a program of poems where parts of the poems are spliced and rearranged. For example, part of poem 1 – part of poem 2 – part of poem 3 – another part of poem 1 – another part of poem 3 – another part of poem 2. This style is not to be considered inherently better or worse than a traditional sequence of unspliced poems. Each approach is to be judged on its own merits.