The lineup of poetry reciters was mostly different from 2018, but the 2019 outcome was the same at the Liberty Bell High School’s annual Poetry Out Loud competition last week.
Junior Cymone Van Marter repeated her 2018 first-place finish among competitors from the high school, while senior Chloe Blum once again took first place representing the Independent Learning Center (ILC).
The eighth annual event took place Wednesday (Dec. 11) at The Merc Playhouse in Twisp. Van Marter and Blum qualified to compete in the Eastern Washington Regional Poetry Out Loud Contest in Spokane in February. The top two finishers from that event advance to the state finals in March in Tacoma. Washington state’s winner goes to the national finals in Washington, D.C.
Junior Lena Nelson finished second for Liberty Bell, and will be the alternative representative in Spokane if Van Marter can’t attend. Finishing third was freshman Connor Herlihy. Sophomore Masie Shaw was the runner-up for the ILC.
This year’s competition featured 10 students from Liberty Bell and two from the ILC. The competitors advanced from previous rounds in their high school classes. Each competitor recited two poems selected from a list provided by the national Poetry Out Loud organization.
Van Marter recited “be careful” by Ed Roberson and “After the War” by Rachel Gavin.
Nelson recited “The Heart Shows No Signs” by Ru Freeman, and “the Snow Man” by Wallace Stevens. Herlihy recited “Horns” by Kwame Dawes and The Barnacle” by A. E. Stallings. Blum recited “How I Learned Bliss” by Oliver De La Paz and “In a Dark Time” by Theodore Roethke.
Also competing last week were Hazel Culpsmith, David Komminak, Rylie Dewitz, Wyatt Albright, Mackenzie Scott, Kelly Schuh and Glacier Gilbert. Albright and Culpsmith also competed last year.
The contest was coordinated by Liberty Bell teachers Kelly Grayum and Dani Golden. Scoring judges were Don Nelson, Christine Kendall and Dotti Wilson. Jane Orme was the accuracy judge and Sara Mounsey was the prompter. Score tabulators were Kelly Grayum, Scott Barber and Morgan Sicilia. Thome George was the students’ performance coach. Liberty Bell junior Keeley Brooks provided the musical entertainment on her violin.
Previous winners in the local competition were Van Marter last year, Mackenzie Woodworth in 2017, Mia Stratman in 2016, Lillian Cooley in 2015, Claire Waichler in 2014, Liam Daily in 2013 and the late Tom Zbyszewski in 2012.
The competition, presented in partnership with the Washington State Arts Commission, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Poetry Foundation and Methow Arts, is part of a national program that encourages high school students to learn about poetry through memorization.