2017 Poetry Out Loud Finalists Announced

Update: Congratulations to Ella Waldspurger on being named this year's school winner! She is seen in the picture to the right talking with Dr. Herbert Woodward Martin ahead of the next round in the Poetry Out Loud competition. 

First Look: For the second year, the top school Poetry Out Loud participants have been chosen to compete in a final round.

Katie Coyle ‘19, Caroline Delaney ‘18, Destiny Jacque ‘18, Clare Kneblik ‘18, Anna Kutter ‘19, Madison Meixner ‘20, Noah Meyer ‘17, JaiShawn Norman ‘19,  Maria Scaccia ‘19,  Amari Smith ‘17,  Lanie Sorg ‘20,  and Ella Waldspurger ‘20 were chosen as the top 12 out of 36 students in the school’s preliminary round earlier this month.

Students were asked which poem they recited for the first round and if they have chosen a second poem for the final round:

  • Coyle: “My first poem is Dear Reader by Rita Mae Reese, and my second is Personal by Tony Hoagland. I chose these poems but I can sense the emotion in each line and I can picture how each line should be delivered.”
  • Delaney: “I chose the poem Plaint In a Major Key by Jorge Sanchez. I chose this poem because it has a very dynamic and fun feel to it. It is about the struggles that a man goes through to get his young son ready in the morning. It has a lot of contradictions in it, which really speaks to how contradictory childhood can be.”
  • Kutter: “I will be reciting the poems Domestic Situation by Ernest Hilbert and A Song in the Front Yard by Gwendolyn Brooks. I chose the first one because it reads very much like a monologue rather than a poem, which I found interesting, and the second one mostly because it was different from the first.”
  • Meyer: “I am reciting The Universe as Primal Scream by Tracy K. Smith and Monet Refuses the Operation by Lisel Mueller. My brother performed the first poem when he was in high school, and my sister performed the second. After hearing these, I came to like these poems very much, so I chose them myself.”
  • Scaccia: “So far I am only reciting Self-Portrait by Robert Creeley. I haven't chosen my second poem yet, but I am really looking for something that is timeless.”
  • Sorg: “I'm reciting Life Cycle of Common Man by Howard Nemerov and The Bear by Susan Mitchell. I chose these poems because I thought that both were insightful and gave a different point of view which was intriguing.”
  • Waldspurger: “I recited the poem Degrees of Gray in Philipsburg by Richard Hugo. I chose a poem that told a unique story. The first stanza sets the scene places the listener in a dilapidated town that was once rich. The second stanza explains the town's history, and talks about a silver boom in 1907, but the town quickly goes downhill from there. The third stanza asks a lot of questions about the town and then gets the listener thinking by saying, 'Isn't this your life?' The last stanza concludes with one positive in the town, a girl, representing the man being in love.”

The students also shared what they’re looking forward to in the second round of competition:

  • Scaccia: “In the final round, I'm mostly excited for the results. Everyone participating has done wonderful so far, and I think choosing a winner will be challenging.”
  • Waldspurger: “I am looking forward to learning another poem. I think it’s exciting learning a new skill and learning about all of the author's ideas.”
  • Sorg: “I'm looking forward to hearing the other poems people are reciting and to see who advances to the next stage.”

In 2016, Thomas Ellison ‘16 won the CJ competition, was one of three Dayton regional finalists to advance to the state round, and won the state competition. He advanced to the first round in the national competition.

When reflecting on their Poetry Out Loud experiences, the students said,

  • Delaney: “Poetry Out Loud is just a fun and new experience that I think benefits everyone who participates. It really teaches people about public speaking and about the difference between acting something out and performing a recitation or a speech.”
  • Kutter: “I really enjoy Poetry Out Loud as a form of performance art that you don't get to see or participate in as often as some others.”
  • Coyle: “Poetry Out Loud is not really something I ever thought I would try, but I found that poetry is a song without music and I can barely sing. So this is a good way to express myself through rhyme.”
  • Meyer: “I would like to thank everyone who has made Poetry Out Loud a possibility at CJ. It has helped to cultivate an interest in poetry that I would otherwise not have had.”

The 2017 CJ Poetry Out Loud final round will be held on Wednesday, February 1 at 7 p.m. in the auditorium.

Published January 21, 2017, Updated February 1, 2017