Poetry Out Loud 2018


The top three winners in the Poetry Out Loud Recitation Contest on Thursday were seniors Susanna Kemp (3rd), Ani Mathison (2nd) and Eva Earnest (1st).

Madison Sklaver, Staff Writer

As the judges huddle in the corner, conferring, contestants wait. Some look relieved, but most are anxious. Some chat with one another, others stare off into space and bounce their legs up and down, patiently waiting to find out who won.

On Feb. 1, 17 students of all grades performed and competed at the schoolwide Poetry Out Loud Recitation Contest. The contest allowed students to showcase their understanding of poems of their choice.

Every student in the schoolwide contest first competed and won against their peers in their english class. The contestants were judged on physical presence, voice and articulation, dramatic appropriateness and evidence of understanding, in addition to their accuracy.

Senior Eva Earnest recitated “Megan Married Herself,” by Caroline Bird. She conveyed powerful emotion to the audience and brought the story to life. The humorous but meaningful poem describes the wedding a woman has with herself and how it makes a guest question whether he should have done the same. While performing, Earnest was calm and collected. She built up the middle of the poem, adding more humor into her voice, then transitioned into the end with a serious tone.

Earnest brought humor to the poem, especially the line, “You may now kiss the mirror,” where the woman finalizes her marriage with herself after saying, “I do.” The best part of her performance were her emotional expressions. As she told the story, her face showed giddiness and joy, but also sorrow.

English teacher Rebecca Hayden, who directs and hosts the event, believes expressions are very important in poetry recitation, and thought Eva did a good job including that.

“She has a very expressive face,” Hayden said. “The voice is obviously important for recitation, but it’s your whole body that you put into a good recitation.”

Earnest said she chose her poem because of the personality she saw in it.

“It was a lot of fun,” Earnest said. “I got to relax while I was doing it and just have fun with it.”

Senior Ani Mathison used her expressions and gestures to demonstrate understanding of “Domestic Situation,” by Ernest Hilbert. She used wide hand gestures and movements and did not confine herself to a small space. The emotion that her voice carried added to her performance, and her last line, “Don’t try to understand what another person means by love. Don’t even bother,” was delivered in a clear voice, showing her understanding of how one should not judge anyone for what love means for them.

One compelling performance was freshman Samantha Brady-Myerov’s “Cartoon Physics” by Nick Flynn. Her pausing between stanzas added emphasis to the message that children shouldn’t know the real rules of the world, only what happens in cartoons. Her expressive emotions as she looked around at all the audience members explained how important naiveness is to a child.

Another standout recitation was “Caged Bird” by Maya Angelou, performed by freshman Maya Costello. Her cadence brought rhythm to the rhymes in the poem. Her hand gestures were free and flowing, like a bird, and she looked all around the room and upwards on lines like, “Dips his wings in the orange sun rays and dares to climb the sky.”

According to Hayden, this year’s contest had a very strong group of students. She appreciated that there were students from all the grades.

“I love performing, and I love poetry and I love competition,” Hayden said, “And to combine all three is really exciting.”

After consulting with one another, the judges announced that senior Eva Earnest had won with her recitation of “Megan Married Herself.” She was followed by seniors Ani Mathison in second and Susanna Kemp in third, who recited “To the Notebook Kid” by Eve L. Ewing.

Next, Earnest will go on to the East Regional semifinals, where she will be required to learn two more poems. Hayden is looking forward to working with her to get ready for the date in March.

“Eva’s got a lot of hard work to do,” Hayden said, “But she was thrilled that she won and is psyched and ready to go.”


Samantha Brady-Myerov (9)     “Cartoon Physics” by Nick Flynn

Maya Costello (9)                          “Cage Bird” by Maya Angelou

Dani Coyle (9)                               “The Definition of Love” by Andrew Marvell

Esme DiStefano-Forte (9)          “Dear Reader” by

Renee Du (10)                                “Ars Poetica” by Archibald MacLeish

Eva Earnest (12)                          “Megan Married Herself” by Caroline Bird

Ashley Eng (11)                             “The Ocean” by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Rex Feldgoise (9)                         “Eagle Poem” by Joy Harjo

Emma Kahn (11)                          “In Love, His Grammar Grew” by Stephen Dunn

Susanna Kemp (12)                     “To the Notebook Kid” by Eve L. Ewing

Gabe Lee (11)                                 “300 Goats” by Naomi Shihab Nye

Ani Mathison (12)                        “Domestic Situation” by Ernest Hilbert

Alex Murray (9)                            “Self Portrait” by Chase Twitchell

Elena Perini (10)                          “Enemies” by Wendell Berry

Jack Roche (12)                            “Pieta” by Kevin Young

Isadora Savic (11)                       “Bleeding Heart” by Carmen Gimenez Smith

Emily Trelstad (10)                     “Harold & the Purple Crayon” by D. Gilson