Congratulations to Poetry Out Loud winner Sierra Bradshaw-Kreimer, and grade-level winners Marc Crespi, Moira Bailey, and Dakotah Kimbrough. Each student recited two poems at a poetry event and recitation competition held on Wednesday, November 28, which featured a keynote speech by North Carolina Poet Laureate Joseph Bathanti. The competition was judged by an esteemed group of local writers, including Krista Bremer, Ross White, and Chris Tonelli.
“Poets should take risks, should be willing to fail,” said Bathanti, who discussed William Stafford’s “Traveling Through the Dark” before the students performed their memorized poems.
Bradshaw-Kreimer recited “Monet Refuses the Operation” by Lisel Mueller and “Eating Poetry” by Mark Strand. A sophomore who earlier this year won a national gold medal from the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, she will advance to the state competition in Greensboro on March 16.
Poetry Out Loud is a national contest that encourages the nation’s youth to learn about great poetry through memorization and recitation. This program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about their literary heritage. After successful pilot programs in Washington, DC, and Chicago, Poetry Out Loud was launched in high schools nationwide in the spring of 2006 with tens of thousands of students participating. POL has grown every year with over 365,000 students competing in 2011-2012. Hawbridge’s Poetry Out Loud program is coordinated by English teachers Jonathan Farmer, Caroline Swicegood, Susan Meyers, and Catey Christiansen.
Joseph Bathanti is a professor of creative writing at Appalachian State University and director of the Writing in the Field program and writer-in-residence in the university’s Watauga Global Community. He was named the state’s seventh poet laureate in August by Governor Bev Perdue and installed during ceremonies in September in Raleigh.
“It was such an honor to host North Carolina Poet Laureate Joseph Bathanti, and a treat to listen to his close reading of ‘Traveling Through the Dark,’” said Hawbridge Director Marcia Huth. “All of the speakers and students were wonderful.”