segunda-feira, março 24, 2008

Winner emerges from poetry showdown

Yin and Yang
Cornel Pufan
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Winner emerges from poetry showdown

Special to the Union Leader
9 hours, 51 minutes ago
KEENE – Shakespeare, Robert Browning, Sylvia Plath, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Lewis Carroll - sounded out from the lips of a new generation on Saturday, at the Poetry Out Loud high school recitation state championship.
Champions from 15 schools across the state came together for a verbal showdown at the Redfern Art Center at Keene State College, to determine New Hampshire's representative at the Poetry Out Loud 2008 National Finals on April 29 in Washington D.C. For the second year in a row, Laura Messner of Exeter High School won first place with her skillful and intense recitation of three poems, including "The Charge of the Light Brigade" by Alfred Lord Tennyson.
Runner up was Cote Laramie from Concord High School. Tied for third were Sarah Cotton of Salem High School, and Molly McCahan of Plymouth Regional High School.
"I'm so excited about doing it again," Messner said. "Last year was a great experience. The competition brings poetry out in so much depth. I have gained more appreciation for it. Before, in the classroom, I was not very into poetry, but now I actually pick up a (poetry) book, read it and understand it."
Rodger Martin, Director of New Hampshire Poetry Out Loud, was enthusiastic about the presentations. "What impresses me this year is the quantum leap in quality. The recitations gave me chills," he said at the end of the competition.
Approximately 4,400 students participated statewide this year, with a champion selected from each school. Eight finalists were chosen from two semi-final round on Saturday. The other four finalists were Minta Carlson of Newmarket Junior/Senior High School, Kai Fukunaga of Dover High School, Hanna Skelton of Cocheco Arts and Technology Academy and Reed Van Dyck of Bow High School.
One by one, the students stepped in front of the microphone. Words from the page leaped to life and moved an appreciative audience with visions, ideas, laughter and tears.
Presenters' connections with the poems were evident; many seemed to be speaking words of their own.
The poems were chosen from the Poetry Out Loud catalog of around 1,000 classic and modern works. Expert judges scored on presentation, dramatization, accuracy and difficulty. Each student's understanding of the chosen work and the appropriateness of presentation were also considered.
Many of the students received coaching during their preparation, and each had a sponsoring teacher. Beth Allard of Cocheco Arts and Technology Academy, won the Teaching Award for this year's program from Poetry Out Loud and The Frost Place.
Laramie prepared by reciting into a tape recorder and playing it back. He said his interest in poetry goes back to elementary school, but this was his first competition. "I was speechless to be in the final eight," he said. "I went so much further than I thought I would and I'm so glad I got to represent my school. This competition encourages kids that it's okay to be into poetry." Laramie presented a moving recitation of Walt Whiteman's "Oh Captain, My Captain" during the final round.
Broadcaster and writer Ira Joe Fisher served as master of ceremonies. State Rep. Daniel Eaton gave the opening remarks and presented awards. In addition to certificates, a cash prize and paid trip to the National Finals for the winner, all participants received gifts from sponsors and each finalist was awarded a $2,500 scholarship to New England College.
Eaton recalled winning a silver dollar for reciting a fourth-grade level poem in the first grade, a victory which started him on his path to a public career. "What you do today," he said, "will bear you well throughout your life. Memorization, timing, humor, temperance, the ability to paint a picture will all contribute, whatever your career."
Other semi-finalists were Sven Wiberg of Oyster River High School, Alexandra Young of Pittsfield Middle High School, Benjamin Mueser of John Stark Regional High School, Annalise Pennell of Hopkinton Middle High School, Laurel Weatherby of Winnacunnet High School, Amanda Kruczinski of Pembroke Academy, and Alexis Taffe of Timberlane Regional High School.
Nationwide last year, more than 100,000 students participated in this program that encourages young people to learn about poetry through memorization and performance, while developing public speaking skills, self-confidence, and a knowledge of their literary heritage. Poetry Out Loud invites the dynamic aspects of slam poetry, spoken word and theater into the English class.

FONTE: The Union Leader - Manchester,NH,USA

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