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PHOTOS & AUDIO: Poetry Out Loud’s first day brings out more than 20 contestants

UPDATE: Winners of Poetry Out Loud at the school level are Nora Donnellan ’17 and Liam McKenna ’16.

January 16, 2013 Photos by Eli Fisher

On Wednesday afternoon, the teaching auditorium was filled by a group of over 20 students reciting poems they had memorized to judges (a group of six teachers) and spectators for the high school’s Poetry Out Loud competition. The first student to recite was Liam McKenna ’16, who advanced to the regional and state Poetry Out Loud competitions and eventually represented New York at the national championship in Washington, D.C. The competition has taken place nationally since 2006.

Judging for Poetry Out Loud is based on the categories of physical presence, voice and articulation, dramatic appropriateness, level of complexity, evidence of understanding, and overall performance.

“Performing is terrifying,” said contestant Lis Barreto ’16. “[I thought that] I could mess up, then it’s getting it right and thinking I messed up.” Despite the pressure of the competition, Barreto said that she “would still do it again.”

Below, listen to McKenna reading his poem, “The Windhover” by Gerard Manley Hopkins.

Martha Mastrianni '16 prepares to recite her poem,

Martha Mastrianni ’16 prepares to recite her poem, “Fishing on the Susquehanna in July” by Billy Collins, during Wednesday’s competition.

Poetry Out Loud judge and English teacher Jill Cowburn during Wednesday's competition.

Poetry Out Loud judge and English teacher Jill Cowburn during Wednesday’s competition.

Liam McKenna ’16, center, the New York state Poetry Out Loud 2013 champion, watches as other contestants recite their poems.

Contestant Helaina Howe '17 recites her poem,

Contestant Helaina Howe ’17 recites her poem, “To This Day” by Shane Koyczan.

Poetry Out Loud judge and English teacher Jenny Sechler during Wednesday's competition.

Poetry Out Loud judge and English teacher Jenny Sechler during Wednesday’s competition.

Adam Willman '15 recites his poem,

Adam Willman ’15 recites his poem, “Catch a Little Rhyme” by Eve Merriam, during Wednesday’s Poetry Out Loud competition.

Julia Kelly '17 prepares to read a poem at Wednesday's competition.

Julia Kelly ’17 prepares to read the poem “The Bad Old Days” by Kenneth Rexroth at Wednesday’s competition.

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The judges’ table at the competition. Judges were teachers Jill Cowburn, Kate Mullin, Jeanmarie Gebhard, Jenny Sechler, Damian Ubriaco, and Bridgette Gallagher (left to right).

Sam Mastrianni reads her poem,

Sam Mastrianni reads her poem, “Ozymandias” by Percy Bysshe Shelley.

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