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University of Massachusetts Amherst

Check out this year's Declamation Day entries and winners here!





















Declamation Day 2011

A Celebration of the Spoken Word

April 11th at 4:30pm
Bezanson Recital Hall


Master of Ceremonies: Mike Haley ’65, Actor, Writer, Director, & Producer








Comedic, dramatic, political... experience a new interpretation of timeless texts as UMass students stand up and make themselves heard while competing for cash prizes.

Students will demonstrate their oratorical skills by reading aloud from a text of their choice. Readings will range from poems to political speeches, comic stories to eulogies, folk tales to satire, and may come from any time period, place, or culture.

Cheer on your favorite declaimers and help them win the Audience Choice award!



~ ~ ~ PRIZES ~ ~ ~

$350 First Place - $200 Runner Up - $200 Audience Choice



Watch the video!

Judge Bios


Judge Bios

Thomas E. Bezanson is an attorney with over 30 years of experience in litigation and arbitration, a history that has provided him with ample opportunity to observe and make effective presentations. Mr. Bezanson, of counsel in the firm Cohen & Gresser, LLP in New York City, is a member of many professional organizations and the recipient of various awards, notably for his pro bono work. Mr. Bezanson’s connection to UMass dates back to 1964 when his father, Philip T. Bezanson, was appointed head of the Music Department.


Sabina Murray was born in 1968 and grew up in Australia and the Philippines. She is the author of the novels Forgery (Grove, 2007), A Carnivore’s Inquiry (Grove, 2004), and Slow Burn (Ballantine, 1990). Her short story collection The Caprices (Houghton Mifflin, 2002, Grove 2007) was the winner of the 2002 PEN/Faulkner award. Her stories are anthologized in The Norton Anthology of Short Fiction and Charlie Chan is Dead II: An Anthology of Contemporary Asian Fiction. She is the writer of the screenplay for the film Beautiful Country, which was an Independent Spirit Award Best First Screenplay nominee. Murray completed her Master of Arts as a Michener Fellow at the University of Texas at Austin and is a former Bunting Fellow of the Radcliffe Institute at Harvard University and a recipient of a major grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council. She has been a Guggenheim Fellow and served as the Roger Murray Writer in Residence at Phillips Academy Andover. She recently received the Brown Literary Award from the University of Pittsburgh. Murray is Professor of English and directs the MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst.


Arthur F. Kinney is Thomas W. Copeland Professor of Literary History and Director of the Center for Renaissance Studies at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. From the start, his archival and scholarly work in the Renaissance has been interdisciplinary. The author or editor of more than thirty books, some of his assembled documents—such as his editions of political documents in Elizabethan Background, his listing of state and church officers in Titled Elizabethans, and his collection of Rogues, Vagabonds, and Sturdy Beggars, all from original documents—have served not only scholars but teachers for more than three decades and some have gone into multiple editions. He is also the editor of works now considered basic reference books: Tudor England: An Encyclopedia; A Companion to Renaissance Drama; and the Cambridge Companion to Renaissance Literature 1500-1600. He is the Founding Editor of the journal English Literary Renaissance, which began publication in 1971. For the past 10 years he has been the President of the Renaissance English Text Society, overseeing annual publications of new editions or transcriptions of rare books and manuscripts. During the past ten years, he has also been the Editor of a book series Massachusetts Studies in Early Modern Culture for the University of Massachusetts Press. He is the recipient of many fellowships including Fulbright Professor at Christ Church and New College, Oxford, and has been a Visiting Professor at the University of Leiden and the University of Liverpool. At present, he is the co-principal investigator of the first collaborative grant sponsored by the American and Australian governments. In 1973, he was named Adjunct Professor of English at Clark University and since 1990 Adjunct Professor of English at New York University.


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