Junior Clara Bossi and senior Myah Garrison finished first and runner-up, respectively, in this year’s high school Poetry Out Loud competition. They were among seven finalists from the four grades, including: ninth grader Piper Staples, sophomores Emma Haims and Avery Jean, junior Finn Veerkamp and senior Adams Staples. These students advanced through the preliminary round to the finals and each presented two poems from memory.
Clara’s winning poems were “The Animals in That Country” by Margaret Atwood, and “The World in the Evening,” by Robert Sherwood. Myah delighted the audience with A.E. Stallings’ “Sestina: Like” and Nick Flynn’s “Cartoon Physics, part I.” Clara will represent Maine Coast at the Poetry Out Loud Regionals in mid-February.
We deeply appreciate the work of the three individuals who served as judges for the event: Marjolaine Whittlesey, regional actor and teaching artist associate at The Telling Room; Jefferson Navicky, poet, short story author, and instructor at Southern Maine Community College; and John Farrell, Artistic Director of the Figures of Speech Theatre.
Poetry Out Loud began as a national competition in 2006; it was the brainchild of then Poet Laureate Dana Gioia, and has been jointly sponsored ever since by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation. Students recite poems by heart that they have selected from the Poetry Out Loud anthology on line. Students who reach the regional competition must perform three pieces. State winners receive cash prizes, an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington D.C., and the opportunity to win major college scholarships.
In Maine Coast’s seven prior years of competing, the school has placed four students in the state finals, including Sylvia Holland and Sabrina Small in recent years. In 2012, Tyler O’Brien earned top honors as Maine State Poetry Out Loud Champion.