BANGOR, Maine — Bangor High School’s Poetry Out Loud competition, a national recitation project sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Poetry Foundation, and the Maine Arts Commission was held on Friday, Dec. 21, in Peakes Auditorium.
Prior to this date, students participated in competitions within their English classrooms with class winners moving on to the school level. These class winners, numbering more than 75 students, performed the poems they had memorized for an audience of peers and teachers.
Stiff competition for the top 10 spots made the decisions difficult for the judges, a panel of four Bangor High School teachers: Ryan Bachtel, Angela Domina, Deb Elz-Hammond, and Jennifer Page.
The 10 finalists were Andy Chen reciting “The Way It Sometimes Is” by Henry Taylor, Caleigh Grogan reciting “Lunar Baedecker” by Mina Loy, Emma Howard reciting “The True-Blue American” by Delmore Schwartz, Brennan MacDonald reciting “A Red, Red Rose” by Robert Burns, Emily Norris reciting “The Alphabet” by Karl Shapiro, Elizabeth Robbins reciting “Ego” by Denise Duhamel, Malik Robinson reciting “Advice to a Prophet” by Richard Wilbur, Jan Tompkins reciting “The Listeners” by Walter de la Mare, Monica Wilbur reciting “No Moon Floods the Memory of That Night” by Etheridge Knight, and Helen Zhang reciting “Ego” by Denise Duhamel.
The school winner was chosen by Poetry Out Loud co-coordinators and English department co-chairs, Emilie Manhart and Susan Thibedeau, and Bangor High School principal, Paul Butler. These judges chose Emma Howard, as the 2013 Poetry Out Loud winner for Bangor High School. Howard was a top 10 finalist for the past three years of Poetry Out Loud, and as a senior prevailed to earn the school champion spot. Howard is involved in drama, Jazz choir, Jazz band, SEED (an environmental club), and the Gay-Straight Alliance. Howard plans to study theater in college and hopes to attend a small, liberal arts school in the New England area.
Howard will be the Bangor High School representative at the Northern Maine Regional competition, where she will recite “The True-Blue American” by Delmore Schwartz, as well as “Calling Him Back from Layoff” by Bill Hicok and “The Good-Morrow” by John Donne.
The regional competition, which will be open to the public, will be held at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 6, The Grand in Ellsworth.
The top five contestants from each regional competition will go on to the state level competition, which this year is being held at 8 p.m. March 20, at The Gracie Theatre at Husson University in Bangor.