JHS Junior Gavin Card Wins 6th Annual Poetry Out Loud Contest

The fact that Jamestown was home to last year’s New York State Poetry Out Loud champion spawned a renewed interest in reciting poetry at Jamestown High School. In December, 27 students stood on the JHS stage, in a spotlight, reciting poetry, not for a class, but as part of the National Poetry Out Loud competition. The school-level contest, won by junior, Gavin Card, was open to all JHS students this year.

“I am passionate about the performing arts, and switching from acting to recitation was a fluid transition,” said Gavin, who recited “After the Disaster” by Abigail Deutsch. “It’s incredibly satisfying to refine poetry into an art form.” Senior, Matt Leon, placed second, reciting “Sweetness” by Stephen Dunn. A fan of lyrical poetry, Matt commented, “A poem conveys emotions that can’t be summed up with adjectives. Sharing a poem with the audience is like sharing a piece of myself, using someone else’s words. As such, choosing the right poem is essential.”

JHS students are participating in the Poetry Out Loud contest for the sixth year in a row as part of an exciting resurgence in poetry as an oral art form. Each student memorized a poem from an authorized list and was evaluated on physical presence, voice and articulation, dramatic appropriateness, evidence of understanding, and overall performance and accuracy.

“This year’s contestants were very accomplished; they interpreted their chosen poems in a way that was powerfully and clearly conveyed to the audience and the judges. Poetry Out Loud helps students master public speaking skills and build self-confidence while analyzing the themes, tone, and diction of a wide range of poems,” said JHS English Department Chair, Barbi Price. “Studying a poem, making it your own, and then reciting it as a gift to the audience is a richly rewarding experience.”

Gavin and Matt are currently memorizing two more poems each before they travel to Buffalo on February 2nd to compete against other winners from schools across Western New York. The top two finishers of that Regional competition will advance to the New York State finals in Syracuse, and ultimately, to the National Finals in Washington DC.
Poetry Out Loud is funded by the Poetry Foundation and The National Endowment for the Arts.

posted on 01/23/2017 - filed under: Academics, ELA, JHS, Spotlight, Students