Finalists Take the Stage for Poetry Out Loud

Update: Congratulations to Thomas Ellison who was the winner of CJ's 2016 Poetry Out Loud Competition. Ellison is also the first male to win the comeptition.

12 students will participate in the final round of CJ's Poetry Out Loud competition on Thursday, January 28.

"Poetry Out Loud is a great celebration of poetry and captures the performance aspect of this genre which is sometimes inaccessible to our students," shared English Department Chair Molly Bardine. "The evening showcases a talent many of our students do not have the opportunity to share with others- their interpretation of a poem and the reading of the poem based on this interpretation."

The finalists for CJ's competition are Rachel Boll '19, Caroline Delaney '18, Thomas Ellison '16, Daniel Feldman '16, Tabitha Jordan-Nickels '16, Will Marshall '19, JaiShawn Norman '19, Bella Peters '17, Noah Mussin Phillips '17, Emily Thie '16, Jacob Troutwine '17, and Peyton Wade '19.

"CJ is always encouraging our students to take risks and the competition, beginning in the classroom and ending in this final school wide contest, is one specific way students are challenged to tap into a newly found creative gift they may discover through Poetry Out Loud," Bardine noted.

The finalists were asked which poems they would be reciting and their thoughts about the event. Here is what some of them said:

Delaney: "I am performing Monet Refuses The Operation by Lisel Mueller and Kindness by Yusef Komunyakaa. I am most excited about being able to perform two poems that really speak to me. I am also looking forward to seeing everyone else's performances. Poetry is all around us, and Poetry Out Loud allows students to interpret poetry in their own way. It is very freeing."

Ellison: "I am performing The Delta by Bruce Bond and Translations from the English by George Starbuck. What makes Poetry Out Loud exciting is that not only are you getting a chance to admire different types of literature but you are also getting a history lesson as well. You get to put yourself in the shoes of another person and it challenges your comprehension of how you act and express a poem. I enjoy stepping out of the norm and becoming another person as I recite."

Feldman: "I will be reciting Sir Gawain and the Green Knight by Yvor Winters and The Cities Inside Us by Alberto Rios.  I am excited for the competition, it is always fun to hear one's schoolmates share the pieces they have prepared over the course of weeks.  Poetry Out Loud is a fun chance to see and hear some great art from sources of talent throughout CJ."

Peters: "My first poem is Over the Roofs by Sara Teasdale and my second poem is The Death of Allegory by Bill Collins. I think why I love Poetry Out Loud is I have never been good with auditions. I have never gotten more than a minor character and have never had more than two speaking lines in a play. Poetry Out Loud gives me the opportunity to act and be onstage and is a break from the science I generally excel at."

Thie: "I am reciting The Legend by Garrett Hongo and A Country Boy In Winter by Sarah Orne Jewett.  I chose The Legend because I think it has a powerful and touching meaning. I chose A Country Boy in Winter because I find that is a light and uplifting portrayal of the joys of childhood and looking forward to adulthood. I am most excited to bring these poems alive for the audience."

Troutwine: "I am reciting The Origin of Order by Pattiann Rogers and Kubla Khan by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. I am very excited to be participating in the finals for Poetry Out Loud. I've put in quite a bit of work to make my poems expressive, and with no errors in wording. I strive to try to understand and emulate the author's original syntax and meaning, while still adding my own personal style. I hope that the audience can feel the emotion of the poem through my speech."

Wade: "I am reading the poems Late Summer by Jennifer Grotts and I chose the poem because I love how summer has a certain feel and era to it, just like that poem explains. I am also reading Ways of Talking by Ha Jin. I chose this poem because I am aware of the feeling of grief and I think that the poem gives an insight to the feelings of the people who are overwhelmed with grief. I am most excited about performing. I really like to be on stage and reciting a dramatic poem only makes it better."