Poetry Out Loud: The Virginia Finals 2016 Competition


CAPTIONING PROVIDED BY CAPTION ASSOCIATES, LLC WWW.CAPTIONASSOCIATES.COM .>>I JUST RECEIVED A LETTER FROM A STUDENT WHO THANKED ME FOR INSTILLING THE LOVE OF MATH IN HIM. THAT’S WHY I TEACH.>>BROUGHT TO YOU BY THE VIRGINIA EDUCATION ASSOCIATION, BECAUSE A GOOD EDUCATION IS GOOD FOR EVERYBODY!>> AND BY THE VIRGINIA COMMISSION FOR THE ARTS. A STATE AGENCY THAT SUPPORTS THE ARTS, BY DISTRIBUTING GRANT FUNDING FOR NOT-FOR-PROFIT ARTS ORGANIZATIONS, EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS, EDUCATORS, ARTISTS, AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS.>>CAPTIONING PROVIDED BY CAPTION ASSOCIATES, LLC WWW.CAPTIONASSOCIATES.COM.>>♪>>♪>>NOTE TO SELF. BREATHE. NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF DELUSION. BEING HONEST STARTS WITH YOURSELF. READ THE MESSAGE LEFT YOU, KNOW YOURSELF, KNOW YOUR ENEMY, AND IN A HUNDRED BATTLES YOU WILL NEVER BE DEFEATED. NOTE TO SELF: YOU ARE YOUR ENEMY. BUT IT’S TIME YOU FORGAVE. ADULT OR KID. YOU DID WHAT YOU DID. NOW IT’S TIME TO MOVE ON, BEING STRONG FEELS BETTER THAN YOU REMEMBER. NOTE TO SELF: ONLY YOU CAN MAKE YOU ACT. SO ACT. DECISIVELY. AND WITH CONSIDERATION FOR MAXIMUM POSSIBLE WIN. DO NOT FEAR VICTORY OR LET IT CHANGE YOU. YOU ARE A CREATURE OF DUALITY, A BREAKING DEMON ANGEL, DO NOT DENY THIS, FOR ALL BY ATHEISTS ARE HELD HOSTAGE TO BLOODY GODS. YOU ARE A SOLDIER SO GRANDE GRAB YOUR STANDARD ISSUE SWORD AND FALL IN. NOTE TO SELF: IF YOU ARE UNWILLING TO MEET THE EYE THAT TURNS INWARD, SPINNING THE YARN OF THE STORY OF YOU, WHY SHOULD ANYONE ELSE? NOTE TO SELF: CONTINUE AN EXPANSION, DO NOT FEAR TO MAKE YOUR STORY BIGGER AS YOUR DNA FILLS THE UNIVERSE, NOT JUST THE WALLS OF YOUR BODY. NOTE TO SELF: SUNRISES. HOW LONG HAS IT BEEN SINCE YOU’VE SEEN ONE? NOTE TO SELF: THE BODY IS NOT AN APOLOGY. SO LOVE YOURSELF PROFUSELY. LOVE LIKE YOU ARE JUST FRIENDS, LOVE LIKE YOU’RE 10 AGAIN. LOVE THE WAY THAT YOU USED TO LOVE DIRT BIKES AND VIDEO GAMES AND CHOCOLATE AND LOVE. CHOCOLATE AND STRAWBERRIES. AND VANILLA. LOVE THE MELTING. LOVE THE MESSY. LOVE THEM INTERSECTING LIKE HUMANITY. LOVE YOU LIKE AWESOME. LOVE YOU LIKE LOVE. NOTE TO SELF: SMILE. THEY ARE ALL LOOKING. NOTE TO SELF: NOBODY IS LOOKING. SMILE. BECAUSE LIFE IS MUCH TOO SHORT TO BARTER TODAY’S HAPPINESS AND TOMORROW IS THE GIFT THAT MAY NEVER COME. WHO SWORE TO YOU THAT YOU WOULD SEE IT ANYWAY? NOTE TO SELF: CELEBRATE YOU. HAVE THAT EXTRA SLICE OF MANGO!>> NOTE TO SELF. NOSTALGIA IS A MIXED BAG. NOTE TO SELF: READING IS AWESOME. NOTE TO SELF: MAKE TIME TO HEAR THE BIRDS SING, TO SMELL THE FLOWERS, TO TASTE THE RAINBOW, TO EMBRACE THE RAIN CRASHING INTO YOUR SKIN. NOTE TO SELF: REMEMBER TO FEEL CHANGE, EXACTLY THE WAYS YOU WISH, EVEN MOUNTAINS ARE CHANGING. DON’T WASTE THAT WISH. NOTE TO SELF: BE. NOTE TO SELF: THEIR OPINION MATTERS. JUST NOT AS MUCH AS YOURS ON THE SUBJECT OF YOU. SO LOVE YOURSELF. GORILLA HAPPY. NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE IMPORTANCE OF LIVING YOUR OWN LIFE, DOWN TO THE MOMENT YOU ARE IN RIGHT NOW. WELCOME, POETRY OUT LOUD.>>[APPLAUSE]>>HOW ABOUT A BIG HAND FOR AMOJA “THE MO-MAN” SUMLER!>>[APPLAUSE]>>AMOJA IS A TEACHING ARTIST FOR THE VIRGINIA COMMISSION FOR THE ARTS. AND THE POEM HE JUST RECITED, “NOTE TO MYSELF” IS AN ORIGINAL WORK. WELCOME TO THE POETRY OUT LOUD STATE FINALS. THANK YOU ALL FOR COMING. I’M ALEXANDRA WILES, YOUR HOST FOR TODAY’S EVENT.>>POETRY OUT LOUD IS SPONSORED BY THE ENDOWMENT OF THE ARTS, IMMERSING HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS IN THE POWERFUL LANGUAGE OF POETRY. POETRY OUT LOUD PROVIDES STUDENTS AN OPPORTUNITY TO MASTER PUBLIC SPEAKING SKILLS, BUILD SELF-CONFIDENCE, AND LEARN ABOUT THEIR LITERARY HERITAGE THROUGH CLASSICAL AND CONTEMPORARY WORKS OF POETRY.>> EACH OF TODAY’S TWELVE CONTESTANTS STARTED AT THE CLASSROOM LEVEL AND COMPETED AT THE SCHOOL LEVEL TO ADVANCE TO THE REGIONAL COMPETITION. THE TWO HIGHEST SCORING STUDENTS FROM EACH REGION WERE INVITED TO COMPETE AT THE STATE LEVEL. THE CHAMPION OF TODAY’S STATE FINAL WILL RECEIVE $200 AND AN ALL-EXPENSE PAID TRIP WITH AN ADULT CHAPERONE TO WASHINGTON, DC TO COMPETE IN THE NATIONAL FINALS ON MAY THE 2ND AND 4TH AT THE LISNER AUDITORIUM ON THE CAMPUS OF GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY. THE STATE CHAMPION WILL ALSO RECEIVE $500 FOR THE PURCHASE OF POETRY BOOKS FOR HIS/HER SCHOOL. THE FIRST RUNNER-UP WILL RECEIVE $100 AND A $200 STIPEND FOR HIS/HER SCHOOL LIBRARY. THERE ARE THREE ROUNDS TO TODAY’S COMPETITION. EACH STUDENT WILL RECITE. HIS/HER POEM IN THE RECITATION ORDER AS THEY ARE LISTED IN THE PROGRAM FOR THE FIRST TWO ROUNDS. THREE STUDENTS WILL ADVANCE TO ROUND THREE AND THE TWO OVERALL HIGHEST SCORING RECITATIONS WILL BE VIRGINIA STATE CHAMPION AND RUNNER-UP. STUDENTS WILL BE ANNOUNCED BY THE EMCEE AND WILL APPROACH THE MICROPHONE. EACH STUDENT WILL IDENTIFY THEIR POEM AND AUTHOR BEFORE BEGINNING THEIR RECITATION. IF, AT ANY POINT DURING THE RECITATION, A STUDENT LOSES HIS/HER PLACE THEY MAY REQUEST ASSISTANCE FROM THE PROMPTOR BY MAKING EYE CONTACT, OR SIGNALING FOR ASSISTANCE. WE ARE APPRECIATIVE OF THE EXPERTISE AND DIVERSITY OF OUR JUDGES WITH US HERE TODAY. THREE OF OUR JUDGES WILL ASSESS STUDENTS ON THEIR PHYSICAL PRESENCE, VOICE AND ARTICULATION, DRAMATIC APPROPRIATENESS, LEVEL OF COMPLEXITY, EVIDENCE OF UNDERSTANDING AND THEIR OVERALL PERFORMANCE. ONE JUDGE SERVES AS ACCURACY JUDGE, IDENTIFYING ANY INCONSISTENCIES BETWEEN THE WRITTEN TEXT AND THE SPOKEN WORD. I WOULD LIKE TO TAKE THE TIME BRIEFLY TO INTRODUCE ALL OF OUR JUDGES TO YOU. ROBERT P. ARTHUR, JUDGE ROBERT ARTHUR IS A POET AND PLAYWRIGHT WHO PROFESSIONALLY PERFORMS HIS OWN WORKS AS READER AND ACTOR. HE IS CURRENTLY THE PRESIDENT OF THE POETRY SOCIETY OF VIRGINIA AND WAS FINALIST FOR POET LAUREATE OF VIRGINIA IN 2008 AND 2010. HE IS A FORMER TEACHER AT THE UNIVERSITY OF RICHMOND AND CURRENTLY TEACHES AT THE MUSE WRITING CENTER IN NORFOLK AND IS A WRITER-IN-RESIDENCE AT WILKES UNIVERSITY IN PENNSYLVANIA. HE IS THE AUTHOR OF OVER 20 BOOKS AND PLAYS, HAS FOUNDED THREE THEATERS, TWO LITERARY JOURNALS, AND A PUBLISHING HOUSE, THE “SAN FRANCISCO BAY PRESS.” CAROLYN KREITER-FORONDA, JUDGE DR. FORONDA SERVED AS POET LAUREATE OF VIRGINIA FROM 2006-2008. SHE HOLDS A B.A. FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF MARY WASHINGTON, WHERE SHE WAS A MEMBER OF THE MORTAR BOARD AND PHI BETA KAPPA HONOR SOCIETIES. SHE ALSO HOLDS AN M.ED., M.A. AND A PH.D. FROM GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY WHERE SHE RECEIVED THE UNIVERSITY’S FIRST DOCTORATE AND AN OUTSTANDING ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT AND SERVICE AWARD. IN 2007 BOTH UNIVERSITIES GAVE HERE THE ALUMNA OF THE YEAR AWARD. JOSHUA POTEAT, JUDGE JOSH POTEAT’S MOST RECENT BOOK, “THE REGRET HISTORIES”, WON THE 2014 NATIONAL POETRY SERIES PRIZE. HE IS ALSO THE AUTHOR OF “ILLUSTRATING THE MACHINE THAT MAKES THE WORLD AND ORNITHOLOGIES”, AS WELL AS THREE CHAPBOOKS: “THE SCENERY OF FAREWELL” AND “HELLO AGAIN”, “FOR THE ANIMAL”, AND “MEDITATIONS”. MOST RECENTLY, HE WAS AWARDED THE 2015 CAROLE WEINSTEIN PRIZE IN POETRY. JOSHUA IS A RESIDENT OF RICHMOND, VIRGINIA AND WORKS AS AN EDITOR AND PROOFREADER AT THE MARTIN AGENCY. REAGAN MCKENNA – ACCURACY JUDGE REAGAN IS AN EDUCATOR AND THE ARTISTIC DIRECTOR OF “MINI-SHAKESPEARE”, A SUMMER THEATRE PROGRAM AT ST. JOSEPH’S CATHOLIC CHURCH IN RICHMOND. SHE DEVELOPED CURRICULUM AND TAUGHT RADIO THEATRE ONLINE FOR MOTHER OF DIVINE GRACE AS WELL AS A NASCENT THEATER PROGRAM AT SETON SCHOOL IN MANASSAS. SHE HOLD A B.A. IN ENGLISH LITERATURE FROM CHRISTENDOM COLLEGE. DISCLAIMER ABOUT POEMS- SOME OF THE POEMS RECITED TODAY MAY NOT BE BROADCAST. WE APOLOGIZE IN ADVANCE FOR THIS. ALL POEMS MUST BE APPROVED AND RECEIVE BROADCASTING RIGHTS THROUGH THE NATIONAL POETRY FOUNDATION. WITH THAT – LET’S BEGIN ROUND 1 OF OUR POETRY OUT LOUD RECITATIONS. OUR FIRST CONTESTANT IS BEN ELLIOTT, PLEASE APPROACH THE STAGE.>>LIFE CYCLE OF COMMON MAN BY HOWARD NEMEROY.>>ROUGHLY FIGURED, THIS MAN OF MODERATE HABITS, THIS AVERAGE CONSUMER OF THE MIDDLE CLASS, CONSUMED IN THE COURSE OF HIS AVERAGE LIFE SPAN JUST UNDER HALF A MILLION FIRURETTES, FOUR — CIGARETTES, 4005THS OF GIN AND A QUARTER AS MUCH OF VERMOUTH, DRANK MAYBE 100,000 CUPS OF COFFEE AND IT COST HALF A MILLION DOLLARS TO PUT HIM THROUGH LIFE. HOW MANY BEEFS DIED TO PROVIDE HIM WITH BEEF, BELTS AND SHOES CANNOT BE CERTAINLY SAID. ANYHOW, IT IS IN THIS WAY THAT A MAN TRAVELED THROUGH TIME, LEAVING BEHIND HIM A LENGTHENING TRAIL OF EMPTY BOTTLES AND BONES, OF BROKEN SHOES, FRAYED COLLARS, AND OUTGROWN DIAPERS AND DINNER JACKETS, SILK TIES AND SLICKERS. GIVEN THE ENERGY AND SECURITY THUS ACHIEVED, SHE DID WHAT? THE USUAL THINGS, OF COURSE. THE EATING, DREAMING, DRINKING, AND BEEGETTING, AND HE WORKS FOR THE MONEY, WHICH WAS TO PAY FOR THE EATING, ET CETERA, WHICH WERE NECESSARY IF YOU WERE TO GO ON WORKING FOR THE MONEY. ET CETERA. BUT CHIEFLY, HE TALKED AS THE BOTTLES AND BONES ACCUMULATED BEHIND HIM. THE WORDS PROCEEDED STEADILY FROM THE FRONT OF HIS FACES A HE DANCED INTO THE SILENCE AND MADE IT VERBAL. WHO CAN TALLY THE TALE OF HIS WORDS? A LIFETIME WOULD BARELY SUFFICE WITH THE REPUTATION. IF YOU REALLY PRINTED ALL HIS COMAS, THE RESULT WOULD BE A VERY LARGE VOLUME, AND THE NUMBER OF TIMES HE SAID THANK YOU, OR VERY LITTLE SUGAR, PLEASE, WOULD STAGGER THE IMAGINATION. THERE ARE ALSO WITICISMS, PLOTTUDES, AND IT SEEMS TO ME, OR AS I ALWAYS SAY, CONSIDER THE COURAGE IN ALL THAT. AND BEHOLD THE MAN, WALKING INTO DEEP SILENCE WITH THE ECTOPLASTIC CARTOON’S BALLOON OF SPEECH PROCEEDING STEADILY OUT OF THE FRONT OF HIS FACE, THE WORDS BORNE ALONG ON THE BRET, WHICH IS THE SPIRIT, TELLING THE NUMBERLESS TALE OF HIS UNTOLD WORD WHICH MAKES THE WORLD HIS APPLE. AND FORCES HIM TO EAT.>>[APPLAUSE]>>OUR NEXT CONTESTANT IS MICHAELA RUSSELL FROM UNION HIGH SCHOOL.>>LA DE — BELLE DAME SANS MERCI, BY JOHN KEATS.>>I WALK IN ELDI, ALONE, AND NURTURING, NO BIRDS SING. I WALK IN ELVI, MATTERDORN, SO HAGGARD AND SO WILL BE GONE, THE GREENERY, FULL, AND THE HARVEST, DONE. I SEE A LILLY ON THY BROW, WITH ANGUISH MOIST AND FEVER DEW AND ON THY CHEEK AS FADING ROSE, FAST WITTHERETH, TOO. I MET A LADY, FULL, BEAUTIFUL, A FAIRY’S CHILD. HER HAIR WAS LONG. HER EYES WERE WILD. AND HER FOOT WAS WHITE. I MADE A GARLAND FOR HER HEAD, AND FRAGRANT ZONE, AND SHE LOOKED AT ME AS SHE DID LOVE, AND MADE SWEET MONEY. I SET HER ON MY PACING STEED, AND NOTHING ELSE SAW ALL DAY LONG, FOR SIDE LONG, WHICH THEY THEN SINGS A FAIRY’S SONG. SHE BROUGHT ME ROOTS OF SWEETS AND HONEY WILDS AND MAY ADEW AND WHEN LANGUAGE CHANGED SHE SAID I LOVE THEE TRUE. SHE TOOK ME TO HER EFL — LLFIN GROTS AND WEPT INSIDE FULL THOR AND THERE I SHUT HER WILD, WILD EYES WITH KISSES FOR, AND THERE, SHE WAS ASLEEP AND THERE I DREAMED, WHOA THE TIDE, THE LATEST DREAM I EVER DREAMT ON THE COLD HILLSIDE. I SAW IT TELL KINGS AND PRINCES, TOO, P LEVMENT LEVMENT WARRIORS, DEATH PELL, WERE THEY ALL, THEY CRIED LA BELLE SANS MERSI HAS THEE ENTHRALLED, I SAW THEIR STARS’ LIPS IN THE GLEAN, DEEP AND WIDE, AND I AWOKE AND FOUND ME HERE, ON THE COLD HILLSIDE. AND THIS IS WHY I AM HERE, ALONE, THOUGH IT IS WITHERED FROM THE LIKE, AND NO BIRDS SING.>>[APPLAUSE]>>>>UP NEXT IS CHARISMA HENRY FROM WOODSON HIGH SCHOOL.>>TO THE NOTEBOOK KID. BY EVE L. EWING.>>YO, CHOCOLATE MILK FOR BREAKFAST, KID. ONE LEG OF YOUR SWEAT PANTS ROLLED UP. VOWNGING AT THE BOTTOM OF YOUR MAMA’S PURSE BOOK, FOR BUS FARE AND GUM. PEN BROKEN, YOU GOT INK ON YOUR THUMB, KID. WHAT’S GOOD HOT ON THE CEMENT, KID? WHITE CASTLE, KID? TONGUE STAINED PURPLE? CUTTING ON THE COURT? TIL YOUR LITTLE BROTHER SHOWS UP WITH HALF A CANDY BAR, KID. GOT THAT GOOD B IN SCIENCE, KID. YOU EARNED IT, KID. IT’S YOUR NAME IN A — ETCH YOUR NAME IN A TREE, HUG YOUR GRANNY ON HER BIRTHDAY. THINK OF ALASKA WHEN THEY SHOOT, CRURLD UP, DREAMS OF FAMINE, SAFETY, TUNDRA, THE FARTHEST AWAY PLACE YOU EVER SAW IN A BOOK. POLAR BEARS ARE YOUR PARTNERS, PICK AXE IN THE ICE. NORTHERN LIGHTS, KID. GET YOUR NOTEBOOK WHERE YOUR COUSINS WON’T FIND IT. LEAVE IT ON MY DESK IF YOU WANT. SHUFFLE UNDER CARBON PAPER AND STAMP THAT SCREEN LIGHT, YELLOW AND RED, TO DRAW THE EYE FROM THE OCEAN. YOU KEEP IT IN A JACKED UP FIVE STAR. YOUR MAMA THOUGHT THERE WAS A SECRET IN THERE. THOUGHT THEY WOULD LAUGH. BUT THAT AIN’T IT. IT’S THAT FROZEN, FROZEN, FROZEN LINES LIKE THE RIP ROARING BITS YOU’VE GOT, BARS THROUGH THE END OF TIME. YOU COULD WRAP LIKE HELIUM OUT TO SPRING. ALL OF IT. DOWN TO YOU. NONE LEFT IN THE SUN. FEEL THIS. WHILE THE LAST LIGHT PUSHES FROM YOUR BELLY, GRINDING YOUR RIBS. AND YOU LAUGH INTO THE MICROPHONE. AND WHO IS READY FOR THAT?>>[APPLAUSE]>>OUR NEXT CONTESTANT IS MCKENZIE PAGE FROM HENRICO HIGH SCHOOL.>>TO THE NOTEBOOK KID, BY EVE L. EWING.>>YO, CHOCOLATE MILK FOR BREAKFAST, KID. ONE LEG OF YOUR SWEAT PANTS ROLLED UP. SCROUNGING AT THE BOTTOM OF YOUR MAMA’S PURSE FOR BUS FARE AND GUM. BROKE AND HE GOT YOUR THUMB, KID. WHAT’S GOOD? HOT ENOUGH FOR ME, KID. WHITE CASTLE, KID? TONGUE STAINED PURPLE. CRUSTING — CUSSING ON THE COURT TIL YOUR LITTLE BROTHER SHOWS UP WITH CALF AO WITH HALF A CANDY BAR, KID. GOT THAT GOOD B IN SCIENCE, KID. YOU EARNED IT, KID. ETCH YOUR NAME IN A TREE. HUG YOUR GRANNY ON HER BIRTHDAY. THINK OF ALASKA WHEN THEY SHOOT HIM. CURLED UP DREAMS OF FAMINE, SAFETY, TUNDRA. THE FARTHEST AWAY PLACE YOU EVER SAW IN A BOOK. POLAR BEARS WHO NEED CHESS PARTNERS, PICK AXE IN THE ICE, NORTHERN LIGHTS, KID. KEEP YOUR NOTEBOOK WHERE YOUR COUSINS WON’T FIND IT. LEAVE IT ON MY DESK IF YOU WANT. SHUFFLE UNDER CARBON PAPER, IN THE STAMP, THE SCREEN. YELLOWS AND REDS TO DRAW THE EYE FROM THE OCEAN. YOU KEEP HITTING IN A JACKED UP FIVE STAR. YOUR MAMA THOUGHT THERE WAS A SECRET IN THERE. THAT AIN’T IT. IT’S THAT FROZEN, FROZEN, AND LINES LIKE THOSE RIP ROARING PITCH YOU GOT, BARS UNTIL THE END OF TIME. YOU COULD WRAP LIKE HELIUM LIKE A SPRING, ALL OF IT DOWN TO YOU. NONE LEFT IN THE SUN. FUELS BY THE LAST NIGHT, PUSHES FROM YOUR BELLY, CLIMBING YOUR RIBS, AND YOU LAUGH INTO THE MICROPHONE. AND WHO IS READY FOR THAT?>>[APPLAUSE]>>OUR NEXT PARTICIPANT IS WILLIAM JEFFERSON FROM SAINT CHRISTOPHER’S SCHOOL.>>SO THIS IS NEBRASKA, BY TED KOOSER.>>THE GRAVEL ROAD RIDES WITH THE SLOW GALLUM OVER THE FIELDS, THE TELEPHONE LINES, STREAMING BEHIND, ITS BILLOW OF DUST, FULL OF THE SPARKS OF RED WINGED BLACK BIRDS, ON EITHER SIDE, THOSE DEAR OLD LADIES, THE LOOSENING BARNS, THEIR LITTLE WINDOWS DULLED BY CATARACTS OF HAY AND COBB WEBS, HIGH BROKEN TRACTORS UNDER THEIR SKIRTS. SO THIS IS NEBRASKA. A SUNDAY AFTERNOON, JULY. DRIVING ALONG WITH YOUR HAND OUT, SQUEEZING THE AIR, THE MEADOWLARK, WAITING ON EVERY POST. BEHIND A SHELTER BELT OF KEYED QUARTERS, TOP TEEN IN HOLY COCK, POLLEN AND BEES, A PICKUP KICKS ITS FENDERS OFF AND SETTLES BACK TO READ THE CLOUDS. YOU FEEL LIKE THAT. YOU FEEL LIKE LETTING YOUR TIRES GO FLAT. LIKE LETTING MICE BUILD A NORTHWEST IN — NEST IN YOUR MUFFLER, LIKE BEING NO MORE THAN A TRUCK IN THE WEEDS, CLUCKING WITH CHICKENS OR STICKING WITH HONEY OR HOLDING A SKINNY OLD MAN IN YOUR LAP WHILE HE WATCHES THE ROAD, WAITING FOR SOMEONE TO WAVE TO. YOU FEEL LIKE WAVING. YOU FEEL LIKE STOPPING THE CAR AND DANCING AROUND THE ROAD. YOU WAVE INSTEAD. AND LEAVE YOUR HAND OUT, GLIDING LARK-LIKE OVER THE WHEAT, OVER THE HOUSES.>>[APPLAUSE]>>OUR NEXT PARTICIPANT IS USMAN ISHAQ FROM WOODBRIDGE SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL.>>THE GREATEST GRANDEUR BY PATTIANN ROGERS.>>>SOME SAY IT’S IN THE REPTILIAN DANCE OF THE PURPLE TONGUED SANGUAYANA, FROM THERE THE MAGNIFICENT TRANSLATION OF 10A INTO BONE AND GRACE OCCURS. AND SOME DECLARE TO BE AN EXPANSIVE DESERT, SOLID RUST, ORANGE ROCK, CAPTURED ON EARTH, IN STONE, SIMPLY FOR THE PERFECT CONTRAST IT PROVIDES TO THE BLUE GRAY RIDGE OF RAIN ON THE DISTANT HILLS. SOME CLAIM THE HARMONICS OF SHIFTING ELECTION IRON RINGS TO BE MOST RARE AND SOME THE COMPLEX MOTION OF SEVEN SAND PIPERS BUY SECTING THE ARCS AND PITCHES OF COMMON RETREAT OVER THE MOUNTING HAYFIELD. OTHERS FOR GRANDEUR CHOOSE THE TERROR OF LIGHTNING PEELS ON PRAYERIES OR THE TALL COLLAPSING CATHEDRAL OF THE STORMY SEAS, BECAUSE THERE, THEY FEEL DWARFED. AND APPROPRIATELY HELPLESS. OTHERS SELECT THE SERENITY OF THAT CEILING STARS THEY SEE ON PLACID LAKES BECAUSE THERE THEY FEEL ASSURED AND UNIVERSALLY MAGNANIMOUS. BUT IT IS THE DARK, EMPTINESS CONTAINED IN EVERY NEXT MOMENT THAT SEEMS TO ME THE MOST SINGULARLY GLORIOUS GIFT, THAT VOID WHICH WHEN IT’S FREED TO FILL WITH PROCESSIONS OF MEN BEARING BURNING FEAR-NOTS, OH IT’S PARADING OF BLUE HORSES, BELLED AND RIBBONED AND STEPPING SIDEWAYS WITH TUMBLING WHITE FACED MINDS OR COMPANIES OF BLACK-ROBED CHORE ESTHERS, JUST AS SIMPLY WITH HAMMERED SILVER TEAPOTS OR KILN DRIED CROCKERY, TANGERINE, ALMOND CUSTARD, WHITTLING STICKS, WAILING WALLS, THAT SPACE, LARGE ENOUGH TO HOLD ALL INVENTED BLASPHEM MES AND PIETIES, 10,000 DEFINITIONS OF GOD AND MORE. NEVER FULLY FILLED. NEVER.>> [APPLAUSE] OUR NEXT PARTICIPANT IS ELIZABETH LILLY FROM FOR FOLK ACADEMY.>>THE DESTRUCTION OF SENNACHERIB BY GEORGE GORDON, LORD BYRON.>>THE FEARING CAME DOWN LIKE THE WOLF ON THE FOLD AND HIS COHORTS WERE GLEAMING IN PURPLE AND GOLD AND THE SHEEN OF THEIR SPEARS LOOKED LIKE STARS ON THE SEA WHEN THE BLUE WAVE ROLLED NIGHTLY ON DEEP GALILEE. BUT THE LEAVES OF THE FOREST WHEN SUMMER IS GREEN, THAT HOST WITH THEIR BANTERS AT SUNSET WERE SEEN. LIKE THE LEAVES OF THE FOREST WHEN AUTUMN HATH BLOWN, ON THE MORROW, THEY WITTERED AND STRONE, FOR THE ANGEL OF DEATH SPREAD HIS WINGS ON THE BLAST, AND WEAVED IN THE FACE OF THE FOE AS HE PASSED. AND THE EYES OF THE FLIPPERS WAXED DEADLY AND CHILL. AND THEIR HEARTS, BUT ONCE, HEAVED AND FOREVER GREW STILL THE STEED WITH ITS NOSTRIL, ALL WIDE, BUT THROUGH IT THERE ROLLED NOT THE BREATH OF HIS PRIDE. AND THE FOAM OF HIS GASPING LAY WHITE ON THE TURF. AND COLD AS THE SPRAY OF THE ROCK BEATING SURF. AND THERE LAY THE RIDER, DISTORTED AND PALE, WITH THE DEW ON HIS BROW AND THE ROUGH ON HIS NAIL. AND THE AT ANY TIMES ARE ALL SILENT, THE BANNERS, ALONE. THE LANCERS, UNLIFTED. THE TRUMPET, UNBLOWN. AND THE WIDOWS OF ASHER ALLOW IT IN THEIR WAIL AND THE IDOLS ARE BROKE IN THE TEMPLE OF BAIL. AND THE MIGHT OF THE GENTILE, UNSMOKED BY THE SWORD. HATH MELTED LIKE SNOW, AND THE GLANCE OF THE LORD.>>[APPLAUSE]>>OUR NEXT CONTESTANT IS ASHLEY MCHENRY FROM BROADWAY HIGH SCHOOL.>>SNOW DAY, BY BILLY COLLINS>>TODAY WE AWOKE TO A REVOLUTION OF SNOW. ITS WHITE FLAG, WAVING OVER EVERYTHING, THE LANDSCAPE VANISHED, NOT A SINGLE MOUSE TO PUNCTUATE THE BLANKNESS. AND BEYOND THESE WINDOWS, THE GOVERNMENT BUILDINGS SMOTHERED, SCHOOLS AND LIBRARIES BURIED, THE POST OFFICE LOST UNDER THE NOISELESS DRIFT, THE PASS OF TRAINS, SOFTLY BLOCKED, THE WORLD, FALLEN UNDER THIS FALLING. IN A WHILE, I WILL PUT ON SOME BOOTS AND STEP OUT LIKE SOMEONE WALKING IN WATER. THE DOG WILL PURPOSE THROUGH THE DRIFT, AND I WILL SHAKE A LADEN BRANCH, SENDING A COLD SHOWER DOWN ON US BOTH. BUT FOR NOW, I AM A WILLING PRISONER IN THIS HOUSE. A SYMPATHIZER WITH THE ANARTIC CAUSE OF SNOW. I WILL MAKE A POT OF TEA AND LISTEN TO THE PLASTIC RADIO ON THE COUNTER, AS LOUD AS ANYONE CAN HEAR THAT THE KITTY’S CORNER SCHOOL IS CLOSED, THE DING DONG SCHOOL, CLOSED, ALL ABOARD CHILDREN SCHOOL CLOSED, THE HIHO NURSERY SCHOOL, CLOSED, AS WELL AS SOME MAY BE DELIGHTED TO HEAR THE TOWED STOOL SCHOOL, THE LITTLE SCHOOL, LITTLE SPARROW’S NURSERY SCHOOL, LITTLE STARS PRESCHOOL, PEAS AND CARROTS DAY SCHOOL, THE TOM THUMB CHILD CENTER, ALL CLOSED. AND, CLAP YOUR HANDS, THE PEANUTS PLAY SCHOOL. SO THIS IS WHERE THE CHILDREN HIDE ALL DAY. THESE ARE THE NESTS WHERE THEY LETTER AND DRAW WHERE THEY PUT ON THEIR BRIGHT MINIATURE JACKETS, WHERE THEY DART AND CLIMB AND SLIDE, ALL BUT THE FEW GIRLS WHISPERING BY THE FENCE. AND NOW I AM LISTENING HARD IN THE GRANDIOSE SILENCE OF THE SNOW, TRYING TO HEAR WHAT THOSE THREE GIRLS ARE PLOTTING, WHAT RIOT IS AFOOT. WHICH SMALL QUEEN IS ABOUT TO BE BROUGHT DOWN?>>[APPLAUSE]>>NEXT UP IS AKHEI TOGUE FROM TALLWOOD HIGH SCHOOL.>>THE WAY IT SOMETIMES IS, BY HENRY TAYLOR. AT TIMES, IT IS LIKE WATCHING A FACE YOU HAVE JUST MET, TRYING TO DECIDE WHO WOULD REMIND YOU OF. NO ONE, SURELY, WHOM YOU EVER HATED OR LOVED, BUT YES, SOMEBODY. SOMEBODY. YOU WATCH THE FACES A IT TURNS AND NODS, SHOWING YOU AT CERTAIN ANGLES, A CURVE OF THE LIPS OR A LIFT OF THE EYEBROWS. THAT IS EXACTLY RIGHT. AND STILL, THE LOST FACE ELUDES YOU. NOW THIS FACE IS TALKING. AND YOU HEAR A SOUND IN THE VOICE. THE ACTION ON CERTAIN WORDS. YES, A PHRASE. YOU BARELY RECALL SITTING OUTSIDE BY A POOL OR A CAMPFIRE, REMARKING A PECULIAR RECURRING EXPRESSION. TWO SYLLABLES, WASN’T IT? DOOR NOBODY. — DOOR NOB. BATHROOM. SHAW CRAWLS. WHAT THE HELL KIND OF WORD IS SHAW CRAWLS? A NAME! NOT THE RIGHT ONE. A COUPLE OF SYLLABLES THAT COULD POSSIBLY BE A LITTLE LIKE SOMETHING YOU MAY ONCE HAVE HEARD. SO THE TALK DRIFTS, AND YOU DRIFT, SNEAKING GLANCES, POUNDING YOUR BRAIN. DAYS LATER, A FACE OCCURS TO YOU, AND YES, THERE IS A RESEMBLANCE, THAT ODD WORD, THOUGH, OR PHRASE IS GONE. IT MUST HAVE BEEN SOMEBODY ELSE. YES, IT’S LIKE THAT AT TIMES. SOMETHING IS MAYBE. AND THERE ARE DAYS WHEN YOU CAN ALMOST SAY WHAT IT IS.>>[APPLAUSE]>>OUR NEXT PARTICIPANT IS ELLIE O’REILLY FROM THE THOMAS JEFFERSON HIGH SCHOOL FOR SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY.>>LARKINESQUE BY MICHAEL RYAN.>>READING IN THE PAPER A SUMMARY OF A FIVE YEAR PSYCHOLOGICAL STUDY THAT SHOWS THOSE PERCEIVED AS MOST BEAUTIFUL ARE TREATED DIFFERENTLY, I THINK THEY COULD HAVE JUST ASKED ME. REMEMBER THE KIND OF PUDGEY KID, AND LATE PUBERTY, THE BLOODY NOSES AND WISE CRACKS BECAUSE I WORE GLASSES, THOUGH WE ALL KNOW BY NOW HOW AWFUL FOR IT IS THAT THE BUSTY STARLET NO ONE TAKES SERIOUSLY, YOU CAN NEVER TRUST A MAN’S INTEREST, EVEN WHEN HE SEEMS NOT JUST OUT FOR SEX, I FOCUS ON ME WITH A WINE GLASS, AND WHO WOULD WANT TO LIVE LIKE THIS? AND WHAT DOES BEAUTY DO TO A MAN? DON JUAN, CAS NOVA, LORD BYRON, THOSE FIERY EYES AND STEEL JAW LINES CONFRONT A FURNACE OF SELF-LOATHING. ALL THOSE BREATHLESS WOMEN, RUSHING TO HIM, AT THE OFFICE OR BALLGAME, PRIMED TO BE CONSUMED BY HIS BEAUTY, WHILE HE STANDS NEXT TO IT. WATCHING. SO MAYBE THE LOOKS WERE OUR BEST, IT’S ONLY COMMON SENSE THAT HAPPINESS DEPENDS ON SOME DEPRIVATION OR DE EFFECTS AND WHO KNOWS WHO CONFLICTS GREAT BEAUTY COULD HAVE CAUSED, WHAT CRUELTIES ONE WOULD HAVE SUFFERED FROM THOSE NOW FRIENDS, WHAT UNMANAGEABLE POSSIBILITIES, SMILING AT EVERY SMALL TURN. SO IF I GET UP TO DRAW A TUMBLER OF ORDINARY TAP WATER AND THINK WHAT IF THIS WERE NECTAR, DRIPING FROM DELICIOUS, BURNING SINGERS, WELL ALL I’VE MISSED KNOCK ME SENSELESS? NO. OF COURSE NOT. IT WON’T.>>[APPLAUSE]>>OUR NEXT PARTICIPANT IS IAN SCHWARTZ FROM THE CHELSEA ACADEMY.>>THE WORLD IS TOO MUCH WITH US. BY WILLIAM WORDSWORTH.>>THE WORLD IS TOO MUCH WITH US. WAIT. ENSUE. GETTING AND SPENDING, WE LAY WASTE OUR POWERS. WAIT TIL WE SEE IN NATURE THIS IS OURS. WE HAVE GIVEN OUR HEARTS AWAY. A SORTED BOON. THIS SEA THAT BEARS YOUR BOSOM TO THE MAN, THE WREN WHICH WILL BE HOWLING AT ALL HOURS AND WHO IS GATHERED NOW LIKE SLEEPING FLOWERS. FOR THIS, FOR EVERYTHING, WE ARE OUT OF TUNE. IT MOVES US NOT. PREACH GOD. I’D RATHER BE A PAGAN, SUCKELED IN A CREED OUT WORN, SO MIGHT I, STANDING ON THIS PLEASANT LEAVE, HAVE GLIMPSES THAT WOULD MAKE ME LESS FORLORN? HAVE SIGHT OF TROJIOUS SIZING — RISING FROM THE SEA OR HEAR OLD TRITON BLOW HIS REEDED HORN.>>[APPLAUSE]>>AND TO ROUND OUT THIS ROUND ONE OF OUR COMPETITION, COMPLAINT AYLA VINCENTE FROM UNION HIGH SCHOOL.>>NOVEL, BY ARTHUR RIMBAUD.>>WE AREN’T SERIOUS WHEN WE ARE 17. ONE FINE EVERYTHING, TO HELL WITH BEER AND LEMONADE, NOISY CAFES WITH THEIR SHINING LAMPS, WE WALK UNDER THE GREEN LINDEN TREES OF THE PARK. THE LINDENS SMELL GOOD, IN THE GOOD EVENING. AT TIMES, THE AIR IS SO SCENTED THAT WE CLOSE OUR EYES. THE WIND, LADEN THE SOUND. THE TOWN ISN’T FAR. THE TOWN IS THE SMELL OF GRAPEVINES AND BEER. THERE, YOU CAN SEE A VERY SMALL PATCH OF DARK BLUE. FRAMED BY A LITTLE BRANCH. PINNED UP BY A KNOTTY STAR THAT MELTS IN GENTLE QUIVERS, SMALL AND VERY WHITE. NIGHTS IN JUNE, 17 YEARS OLD, WE ARE OVERCOME BY IT ALL. THE SAP OF CHAMPAGNE GOES TO OUR HEAD. WE TALKED A LOT. AND STEAL A KISS ON OUR LIPS. TREMBLING THERE, LIKE A SMALL INSECT. OUR WILD HEARTS MOVE THROUGH NOVEMBERLES LIKE ROBINSON CRUSOE WHEN IN THE LIGHT OF A PALE STREET LAMP A GIRL GOES BY, ATTRACTIVE AND CHARMING, UNDER THE SHADOW OF HER FATHER’S TERRIBLE COLLAR. AND SHE FINDS YOU INCREDIBLY NAIVE. WHILE CLICKING HER LITTLE BOOTS, SHE TURNED DIRECTLY AND IN A LIVELY WAY. THEN, CAVATINAS DYE ON YOUR LIPS. YOU ARE IN LOVE. OCCUPIED UNTIL THE MONTH OF AUGUST. YOU ARE IN LOVE. YOUR SONETS MAKE HER LAUGH. ALL YOUR FRIENDS GO OFF. YOU ARE RIDICULOUS. THEN ONE EVENING, THE GIRL YOU WORSHIP DANE DOLLARS TO WRITE TO YOU. THAT EVENING, YOU RETURNED THE BRIGHT CAFES, YOU ASKED FOR BEER OR LEMONADE. WE AREN’T SERIOUS WHEN WE ARE 17. AND WHEN WE HAVE GREEN LINDEN TREES IN THE PARK.>>[APPLAUSE]>>THE ANGEL OF DEATH SPREAD HIS WINGS, AND BREATHED IN THE FACE –>>BEING DRAWN TO POETRY, LOVING POETRY IS NATURAL AND DEEPLY HUMAN. IT’S WHAT THE POEM DOES INSIDE YOU. THE POEM CONNECTS WITH ALL THOSE FEELS THAT MAKES YOU MOST HUMAN AND MOST EMPATHETIC AND THOUGHTFUL.>>NOW THIS FACE IS TALKING, AND YOU HEAR A SOUND IN THE VOICE, THE ACTION ON CERTAIN WORDS.>>THE MAIN THING IS GETTING INSIDE THE POEM, AND YOU REALIZE OH, THE SPEAKER IS HAPPY WHEN HE SAYS THAT I WON, BUT NOW HE IS BEGINNING TO BOW. MEMORIZE AGO POEM AND SAYING IT WELL IS A MATTER OF UNDERSTANDING HUMAN PSYCHOLOGY, AS MUCH AS UNDERSTANDING LANGUAGE.>>A NAME. NOT THE RIGHT OF ONE.>>[APPLAUSE]>>LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, PLEASE WELCOME KEITH LEE, MR. LEE HAS BEEN COMPOSING DANCES SINCE 1968 AND HIS WORKS HAVE BEEN PERFORMED BY MANY DISTINGUISHED DANCE INSTITUTIONS, INCLUDING THE AMERICAN BALLET THEATER, THE ALVIN AILEY REPERTORY ENSEMBLE. MR. LEE WAS THE FIRST AFRICAN-AMERICAN TO SIGN A PERMANENT CONTRACT WITH THE AMERICAN BALLET THEATRE, WHERE HE PERFORMED AS A SOLOIST FOR SEVEN YEARS. ALTHOUGH MR. LEE HAS TRANSITIONED TO THE ROLE OF DANCE TEACHER, HE STILL DANCES AND TODAY WILL PERFORM AN ORIGINAL PIECE, DEDICATED TO THE MEMORY OF GREGORY HINES, CALLED “THAT CAT CAN TAP” PERFORMED TODAY BY KALEB LINDERVALSEN.>>[APPLAUSE]>>>>♪>>♪>>♪>>♪>>♪>>[APPLAUSE] TO BEGIN ROUND 2, FOLLOWING THE RECITATION ORDER FROM ROUND 1, STUDENTS WILL IDENTIFY THEIR POEM AND AUTHOR. AFTER ROUND 2 WE WILL TAKE A BRIEF BREAK AND IDENTIFY THE TOP THREE STUDENTS WHO WILL ADVANCE TO ROUND THREE TO DETERMINE TODAYS STATE CHAMPION.>>LET’S BEGIN AGAIN WITH CONTESTANT NUMBER ONE BEN ELLIOTT.>>IN SCHOOL DAYS BY JOHN GREENLEAF WHITTIER. STILL SITS THE SCHOOLHOUSE BY THE ROAD, A RAGGED BEGAR, SLEEPING, AROUND IT, STILL THE SUMACS GROW AND BLACKBERRY VINES ARE CREEPING. THEN MASTER’S DESK IS SEEN, DEEP SCARED BY RAPS OFFICIAL, THE WARPING FLOOR, THE BATTERED SEATS, THE JACKKNIFES, CARVED INITIAL, THE CHARCOAL FRESCOES ON ITS WALL, ITS DOORS WORN SILL, TRAIN, CREEPING SLOW TO SCHOOL, WENT STORMING OUT TO PLAY. LONG YEARS AGO, A WINTER’S SUN, SHOWN OVER ITS SETTING, ITS WESTERN WINDOW PAINES AND LOW EVES, ICY FRETTING. IT TOUCHED THE TANGLE’S GOLDEN CURLS AND BROWN EYES, FULL OF GRIEVING, ONE WHO STILL HER STEPS DELAY WHEN ALL THE SCHOOL WERE LEAVING, FOR NEAR HERS TO THE LITTLE BOY HER CHILD IS FAVORED, SINGLED, HIS CAP PULLED LOW UPON A FACE WHERE PRIDE AND SHAME WERE MINGLED PUSHING WITH RESTLESS FEET, THE SNOW TO LEFT AND RIGHT, HE LEERED AS RESTLESSLY HER TINY HANDS, THE BLUE CHECKED APRON FINGERED. HE SAW HER LIFT HER EYES, HE FELT THE SOFT HANDS’ LIGHT CARESSING AND HEARD THE TRUMMABLY OF HER VOICE AS IF A FAULT CONFESSING. I’M SORRY THAT I SPELT THE WORD. I HATE TO GO ABOVE YOU, BECAUSE THE BROWN EYES LOWER FELL. BECAUSE, YOU SEE, I HOPE YOU — STILL MEMORY, TO A GRAY-HAIRED MAN, THAT SWEET CHILD FACE IS SHOWING. DEAR GIRL, THE GLASSES ON HER GRAVE HAVE 40 YEARS BEEN GROWING. HE LIVES TO LEARN IN LIFE’S HARD SCHOOL HOW FEW WHO PASS ABOVE HIM WERE MEANT THEIR TRIUMPH AND HIS LOSS, LIKE HER, BECAUSE THEY LOVE HIM.>>[APPLAUSE]>>UP NEXT IS MICHAELA RUSSELL.>>THE ALBATROSS BY KATE BASS WHEN I KNOW YOU ARE COMING HOME, I PUT ON THIS NECKLACE. GLASS BEADS ON SILKEN THREAD, A BLUE THAT USED TO MATCH MY EYES. I LIKE TO THINK I’M REMEMBERING YOU. I LIKE TO THINK YOU DON’T FORGET. THE NECKLACE LIES HEAVY ON MY SKIN. IT CLATTERS WHEN I REACH DOWN TO LIFT MY SCREAMING CHILD. I SWING HER, LULL HER IN MY ARMS UNTIL SHE FORGETS. THE BEADS GLITTER IN THE FLICKER OF A TV SET, AS I SIT HER ON MY LAP AND WISH AWAY THE AFTERNOON. I WAIT UNTIL I HEAR THE GATE LATCH LIFT, THE TURN OF KEY AND WALK. I SIT AMONGST TOYS AND UNWASHED CLOTHES. I SIT AND SHE FINGERS THE BEADS UNTIL YOU SPEAK IN A VOICE THAT NO LONGER SEEMS FAMILIAR. ONLY STRANGE. I TURN AS OUR CHILD TUGS AT THE STRING. I HEAR A SNAP. AND A SOUND LIKE FALLING RAIN.>>[APPLAUSE]>>OUR NEXT PARTICIPANT IS CHARISMA HENRY.>>SOLITUDE, BY ELLA WHEELER WILCOX.>>LAUGH AND THE WORLD LAUGHS WITH YOU. WEEP AND YOU WEEP ALONE. FOR THE SAD OLD EARTH MUST BOROUGH ITS WORTH, BUT HAS TROUBLE ENOUGH OF ITS OWN. SING AND THE HILLS WILL ANSWER. SIGH, IT IS LOST ON THE AIR. THE ECHOS BOUND TO A JOYFUL SOUND, BUT SHRINK FROM VOICING CARE. REJOICE AND MEN WILL SEEK YOU GRIEVE AND THEY TURN AND GO. THEY WANT FULL MEASURE OF ALL YOUR PLEASURE, BUT THEY DO NOT NEED YOUR WOE. BE GLAD AND YOUR FRIENDS ARE MANY. BE SAD AND YOU LOSE THEM ALL. THERE ARE NONE TO DECLINE YOUR NECTARED WINE, BUT ALONE, YOU MUST DRINK LIFE ALL. FACED AND YOUR HOLES ARE CROWDED. FAST, AND THE WORLD GOES BY. SUCCEED AND GIVE AND IT HELPS YOU LIVE, BUT NO MAN CAN HELP YOU DIE. THE HOLES OF PLEASURE, FOR LARGE AND LURED THE TRADE, BUT ONE BY ONE WE MUST ALL FILE ON THROUGH THE NARROW AISLES OF PAIN.>>[APPLAUSE]>>OUR NEXT PARTICIPANT IS MCKENZIE PAGE.>>GRIEF, BY ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING.>>I TELL YOU, HOPELESS GRIEF IS PASSIONLESS, THAT ONLY MEN INCREDULOUS OF DESPAIR HAVE TAUGHT IN ANGUISH THROUGH THE MIDNIGHT AIR BEAT UPWARD TO GOD’S THRONE IN LOUD EXCESS OF SLEEKING AND REPRIEVE. FULL OF DESERTS WILL, IT SHOWS AS COUNTRIES, LIETH SILENT, BARE, UNDER THE BRANCHING VERTICAL EYE GLARE OF THE ABSOLUTE HEAVENS. PARDON ME, EXPRESS GRIEF IN DALIENCE, LIKE A STATUE, SET IN EVERLASTING WATCH, A MOVE LLS WORLD, FELT ITSELF CRUMBLE TO THE DEATHS. TOUCH IT. THE MARVEL ISLANDS ARE NOT RIGHT. IF IT COULD WEEP, IT COULD ARISE AND GO.>>[APPLAUSE]>>OUR NEXT COMPETITOR IS WILLIAM JEFFERSON.>>THE IDLER, BY ALICE MOORE DUNBAR-NELSON.>>AN IDLE LINGERER ON THE WAYSIDE ROAD, HE GATHERS UP HIS WORK AND YAWNING AWAY, A LITTLE LONGER, THE TIRESOME LOATHE SHALL BE REDUCED TO ASHES OR CLAY. NO MATTER IF THE WORLD HAS MARCHED ALONG AND SCORNED HIS SLOWNESS AS IT QUICKLY PASSED, NO MATTER IF AMID THE BUSY THRONG, HE GREETS SOME FACE INFINISH TILE AT THE LAST. HIS MISSION? WELL, THERE IS BUT ONE. AND IF IT IS A MISSION, HE KNOWS IT, NAY TO BE A HAPPY IDLER, TO LOUNGE AND SUN AND DREAMING, PAST HIS LONG — PASS HIS LONG DRAWN DAYS AWAY, SO DEEMS HE ON, HIS HAPPY LIFE TO PAST CONTENT, WITHOUT AMBITIONS’ PAINFUL SIDES, UNTIL THE SANDS RUN DOWN INTO THE GLASS. HE SMILES, CONTENT, UNMOVED AND EYE, AND YET WITH ALL THE PITY THAT YOU FEEL FOR THIS POOR MOFFLING, OR THAT FLAMED WORLD, ARE YOU THE BETTER FOR YOUR DESPERATE ATTITUDE, AND WOULD YOU LIKEN HIM TO INFINISHTUDE UNHURLED?>>[APPLAUSE]>>UP NEXT IS ELIZABETH LILLY.>>MYSTICISM FOR BEGINNER’S FOR BEGINNER’S. THE DAY WAS MILD, THE LIGHTS, WHEN GENEROUS, THE GERMAN ON THE CAFE TERRACE HELD A SMALL BOOK ON HIS LAP. I CAUGHT SIGHT OF THE TITLE, MYSTICISM FOR BEGINNER’S. SUDDENLY, I UNDERSTOOD THE SWALLOWS, PATROLLING THE STREETS OF MONTEPULCIANO WITH THEIR SLIMS WHISTLES AND HUSHED TALK OF TRAVELERS FROM EASTERN, SO-CALLED CENTRAL EUROPE, AND THE WHITE HERRON, STANDING YESTERDAY, THE DAY BEFORE, LIKE NUNS IN FIELDS OF RICE AND THE DUSK, SLOW AND SYSTEMATIC, ERASING THE OUTLINES OF MEDIEVAL HOUSES AND OLIVE TREES, LITTLE HILLS ABANDONED TO THE WIND AND HEAT, AND THE HEAD OF THE UNKNOWN PRINCESS THAT I SAW AND ADMIRED IN THE LOUVE, AND STAINED GLASS WINDOWS LIKE BUTTERFLY WINGS, SPRINKLED WITH POLLEN AND LITTLE NIGHTINGALE PRACTICING ITS SPEECH BESIDE THE HIGHWAY, AND ANY JOURNEY, ANY KIND OF TRIP, ARE ONLY MYSTICISM FOR BEGINNER’S. THE ELEMENTARY COURSE, PRELUDE TO A TEST THAT HAS BEEN POSTPONED.>>[APPLAUSE]>>OUR NEXT PARTICIPANT IS ASHLEY MCHENRY.>>A NOISELESS PATIENT SPIDER, BY WALT WHITMAN.>>A NOISELESS PATIENT SPIDER, I MARKED WHERE ON A PROMINTORY IT STOOD, MARKED HOW TO EXPLORE THE VACANT VAST SURROUNDING, IT LAUNCHED FILAMENT, FILAMENT OUT OF ITSELF, EVER UNREELING THEM, EVER TIRELESSLY FEEDING THEM, AND YOU, OH MY SOUL, WHERE YOU STAND, SURROUNDED, DETACHED IN MEASURELESS OCEANS OF SPACE, CEASELESSLY MUSING, VENTURING, THROWINGING, SEEKING THE SPEARS TO CONNECT THEM, TIL THE BRIDGE YOU NEED BE FORWARD, THE DUCT TILE YOU HOLD, TO THE THREAD YOU FLING CATCH SOMEWHERE. OH MY SOUL.>>[APPLAUSE]>>UP NEXT IS AKHEI TOGUN.>>I’M A FOOL TO LOVE YOU, BY CORNELIUS EADY.>>SOME FOLKS WILL TELL YOU THE BLUES IS A WOMAN. SOME TYPE OF SUPERNATURAL CREATURE. MY MOTHER WOULD TELL YOU IF SHE COULD ABOUT HER LIFE WITH MY FATHER. A STRANGE AND SOMETIMES CRUEL GENTLEMAN. SHE WOULD TELL YOU ABOUT THE CHOICE AS A YOUNG BLACK WOMAN — CHOICE AS YOUNG BLACK WOMAN FACES, FALLING IN LOVE WITH SOME MAN A DEAL WITH THE DEVIL IN BLUE TERMS, THE THRONE WE USE WHEN WE DON’T WANT GNAWANCE — NUANCE TO GET IN THE WAY, WHEN WE NEED TO TALK STRAIGHT. MY MOTHER CHOOSES MY FATHER AFTER CHOOSING A MAN WHO HAS, AS WE SEE IT, OF NO ACCOUNT, THIS MAN MADE MY FATHER LOOK GOOD. THAT’S HOW BAD IT WAS. HE MADE MY FATHER SEEM LIKE AN ISLAND IN THE MIDDLE OF A STORMY SEA. HE MADE MY FATHER LOOK LIKE A ROCK. AND AS THE BLUES, THE MOMENT YOU REALIZE YOU EXIST IN A STACKED DECK, YOU LOOK IN THE MIRROR AT YOUR YOUNG FACE, THE FACE YOUR SISTER CARRIES, AND YOU KNOW IT’S THE ONLY LEVERAGE YOU’VE GOT. THAT THIS CREATOR HURTS, THAT WHISPERS HOW YOU GOING TO DO? IS THE BLUES THE MOMENT YOU SLUG YOUR SHOULDERS AND AGREE? A GIRL WITHOUT MONEY IS NOTHING, JUST TO BE PUSHED AROUND BY ANY OLD BREEZE. COMPARED TO THIS? MY FATHER SEEMS BRIEFLY TO BE A FIRE ESCAPE. THIS IS THE WAY THE BLUES WORKS, SORRY WONDERS, MAKES TROUBLE LOOK LIKE A FEATHER BAND. MAKES THE WRONG MAN’S KISSES A HEALING.>>[APPLAUSE]>>UP NEXT IS ELLIE O’REILLY.>>PLANETARIUM BY ADRIENNE RICH.>>THINKING OF CAROLINE HERSHEL, 1750, 1848. ASTRONOMY. TO SERVE WILLIAM. AND OTHERS. A WOMAN IN THE SHAPE OF A MONSTER. A MONSTER IN THE SHAPE OF A WOMAN. THE SKIES ARE FULL OF THEM. A WOMAN IN THE SNOW AMONG THE CLOCKS AND INSTRUMENTS, OR MEASURING THE GROUND WITH POLES. IN HER 98 YEARS, DISCOVER EIGHT COMETS, SHE WHOM THE MOON RULED, LIKE US, LEVITATING INTO THE NIGHT SKY, RIDING THE POLISHED MENZES, GALAXIES, PENNANTS FROM PET UOUSNESS, RIBS CHILLED IN THOSE SPACES OF THE MIND. AN EYE, ZERO, PRECISE, AND ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN FROM THE MAD WEBS OF YEARNES BORGUE, ENCOUNTERING THE NOVA, EVERY IMPULSE OF LIGHT, EXPLODING FROM THE CORE AS LIFE FLIES OUT OF US, TAKE A WHISPERING AT LAST, LET ME NOT HAVE SEEMED TO HAVE LIVED IN VAIN, WHAT WE SEE WE SEE AND SEEING IS CHANGE, THE LIGHT THAT CHIVELS A MOUNTAIN AND LEAVES A MAN ALIVE, HEART BEAT OF THE PULSE OR HEART SWEATING THROUGH MY BODY, THE RADIO IMPULSE POURING IN FROM TAURUS, I AM BOMBARDED, YET I STAND. I HAVE BEEN STANDING ALL MY LIFE, IN THE DIRECT PATH OF THE BATTERY OF SIGNALS. THE MOST ACCURATELY TRANSMITTED, MOST UNTRANSLATABLE LANGUAGE IN THE UNIVERSE. I AM A GALACTIC CLOUD SO DEEP, SO INVO SALUTED FROM A LIGHT WAVE COULD TAKE 15 YEARS TO TRAVEL THROUGH ME AND HAS TAKEN. I AM AN INSTRUMENT, IN THE SHAPE OF A WOMAN. TRYING TO TRANSLATE PULSATIONS INTO IMAGES FOR THE RELEASE OF THE BODY AND RECONSTRUCTION OF THE MIND.>>[APPLAUSE]>>OUR NEXT PARTICIPANT IS IAN SCHWARTZ.>>LIFE CYCLE OF COMMON MAN, BY HOWARD NEMEROV.>>ROUGHLY FIGURED, THIS MAN OF MODERATE HABITS, THIS AVERAGE CONSUMER OF THE MIDDLE CLASS, CONSUMED IN THE COURSE OF HIS ADVANTAGE LIFE SPAN JUST UNDER HALF A MILLION CIGARETTES, 4000 FIFTHS OF GIN AND ABOUT A WATER AS MUCH VER MOUTH, HE DRANK MAYBE 100,000 CUPS OF COFFEE, AND, COUNTING HIS PARENTS’ SHARE, IT COST SOMETHING LIKE— HALF A MILLION DOLLARS TO PUT HIM THROUGH LIFE. HOW MANY BEASTS DIED TO PROVIDE HIM WITH MEAT, BELTS AND SHOES CANNOT BE CERTAINLY SAID. BUT ANYHOW, IT IS IN THIS WAY THAT A MAN TRAVELS THROUGH TIME, LEAVING BEHIND HIM A LENGTHENING TRAIL OF EMPTY BOTTLES AND BONES OF BROKEN SHOES, FRAYED COLLARS, AND WORN OUT OR OUTGROWN DIAPERS AND DINNER JACKETS, SILK TIES, AND SLICKERS. GIVEN THE ENERGY AND SECURITY THUS ACHIEVED, HE DID WHAT? THE USUAL THINGS, OF COURSE. THE EATING, DREAMING, DRINKING, AND BEE GETTING — BEGETTING, AND SHE WORKS FOR THE MONEY WHICH WAS TO PAY FOR THE EATINGING — EATING, WHICH WERE NECESSARY TO GO ON, ET CETERA, BUT CHIEFLY, HE TALKED. AS THE BOTTLES AND BONES ACCUMULATED BEHIND HIM, THE WORDS PROCEEDED STEADILY FROM THE FRONT OF HIS FACES A HE ADVANCED INTO THE SILENCE AND MADE IT VERBAL. WHO CAN TALLY THE TALE OF HIS WORDS? A LIFETIME WOULD BARELY SUFFICE FOR THE REPETITION. IF YOU MERELY PRINTED ALL THOSE COMAS, THE RESULT WOULD BE A VERY LARGE VOLUME. AND THE NUMBER OF TIMES HE SAID THANK YOU. OR VERY LITTLE SUGAR, PLEASE, WOULD STAGGER THE IMAGINATION THERE ARE ALSO WITNESS CIVILES, PLATITUDES, AND STATEMENTS BEGINNING, IT SEEMS TO ME, OR AS I ALWAYS SAY.>>CONSIDER THE COURAGE IN ALL THAT, AND BEHOLD THE MAN, WALKING INTO DEEP SILENCE. WITH THE ECTOPLASTIC CARTOON, BALLOON OF SPEECH PROCEEDING STEADILY OUT OF THE FRONT OF HIS FACE, THE WORDS, BORNE ALONG ON THE BREATH WHICH IS HIS SPIRIT, TELLING THE NUMBERLESS TALE OF HIS UNTOLD WORD WHICH MAKES THE WORLD HIS APPLE AND FORCES HIM TO EAT.>>[APPLAUSE]>>TO ROUND OUT ROUND TWO, KAYLA VINCENTE.>>FAIRY TALE LOGIC BY A.E. STALLINGS.>>FAIRY TALES ARE FULL OF IMPOSSIBLE TASKS, GATHER THE CHIN HAIRS OF A MAN EATING GOAF OR CROSS A SULFURIC LAKE IN A LEAKY BOAT, SELECT THE PRINCE FROM A ROW OF IDENTICAL MASKS, TIP TOE UP TO A DRAGON, WHERE IT BASKS, AND SNATCH ITS BONE. COUNT THE SPECKS. MOTOR BY MOTOR. OR LEARN THE PHONE DIRECTORY BY ROTE. ALWAYS IT’S IMPOSSIBLE, BUT SOMEONE ASKS. YOU HAVE TO FIGHT MAGIC WITH MAGIC. YOU HAVE TO BELIEVE THAT YOU HAVE SOMETHING IMPOSSIBLE UP YOUR SLEEVE. THE LANGUAGE OF SNAKES, PERHAPS. AN INVISIBLE CLOAK. AN ARMY ANTS AT YOUR BEING, OR A LETHAL JOKE. THE WILL TO DO WHATEVER MUST BE DONE. MARRY A MONSTER? SEND OVER YOUR FIRST BORN SON>>[APPLAUSE]>>>>THESE CHILDREN ARE CHOOSING TO MEMORIZE THESE WORKS, AND TO GET UP IN FRONT OF SOMEONE AND PERFORM, NO MATTER WHERE YOU ARE, WHO YOU ARE TALKING TO, WHETHER YOU’RE A CAR MECHANIC, WE TRY TO GET YOU TO PAY $300 EXTRA FOR THE BATTERY YOU NEED, IT COMES IN HANDY, YOU DON’T REALIZE THAT THIS POEM YOU ARE MEMORIZING FOR POETRY OUT LOUD WILL SOMEHOW HELP NEW YOUR LIFE.>>HOPEFULLY, THEY WILL KEEP DOING IT T. HOPEFULLY IT WILL MAKE THEM READERS AND POSSIBLY WRITERS. IF I HAD SOMETHING LIKE THIS BACK THEN, I MIGHT BE BETTER OFF THAN I AM NOW, GETTING A BETTER START.>>[APPLAUSE]>>THE JUDGES HAVE IDENTIFIED THE TOP THREE FINALISTS TO PROCEED TO THE THIRD AND FINAL ROUND OF TODAY’S COMPETITION. THEY ARE- CHARISMA HENRY FROM WOODSON HIGH SCHOOL.>>[APPLAUSE]>>ELIZABETH LILLY FROM NORFOLK ACADEMY.>>[APPLAUSE]>>AND AHKEI TOGUN FROM TALLWOOD HIGH SCHOOL.>>[APPLAUSE]>>LET’S BEGIN THE FINAL ROUND OF THE COMPETITION TO DETERMINE OUR STATE CHAMPION. AS WITH THE PREVIOUS ROUND, ROUND STUDENTS WILL IDENTIFY THEIR POEM AND AUTHOR. FIRST UP IS CHAR MAZE HENRY.>>REQUESTS FOR TOY PIANO BY TONY HOAGLAND.>>PLAY THE ONE ABOUT THE FAMILY OF THE DUCKS, WHERE THE DUCKS GO DOWN TO THE RIVER AND ONE OF THEM THINKS THE WATER WILL BE COLD, BUT THEY JUMP IN ANYWAY, AND LIKE IT AND SPLASH AROUND. NO, I MUST PLAY THE ONE ABOUT THE NERVOUS MAN FROM PALESTINE IN ROW 14 WITH A BROWN BAG IN HIS LAP IN WHICH A GUN IS HIDDEN IN A SANDWICH>>PLAY THE ONE ABOUT THE HANDSOME MAN AND WOMAN, STANDING ON THE STEPS OF HER APARTMENT, AND HOW THE DARKNESS AND HER PERFUME AND THE BEATING OF THEIR HEARTS CONJOIN TO MAKE THEM FEEL LIKE LEAPING FROM THE EDGE OF CHANCE. NO, I SHOULD PLAY THE ONE ABOUT THE HARD RECTANGLE OF THE CREDIT CARD, HIDDEN IN THE MAN’S BACK POCKET, AND HOW THE WOMAN SPENT AN HOUR PLUCKING OUT HER BROWS, AND HOW HER PERFUME WAS MADE FROM THE DESTRUCTION OF A HUNDRED FLOWERS. THEN PLAY THE ONE ABOUT THE FLOWER INDUSTRY, IN WHICH THE MIGRANT WORKERS CURSE THEIR OWN INFECTED HANDS, FROM TOSSING SHEAFS OF ROSES AND CARNATIONS INTO THE BACK OF THE REFRIGERATED TRUCKS. NO, I MUST PLAY THE ONE ABOUT THE SINGLE YELLOW DAFFODIL, STANDING ON MY KITCHEN TABLE, WHOSE CUT STEM DRAWS THE WATER UPWARDS, SO THE PLANT IS FLUSHED WITH THE CONVICTION. THAT THE WATER HAS BEEN SENT TO FIND AND RAISE IT UP, FROM SOMEWHERE SO DEEP INSIDE THE EARTH, NOT EVEN FLOWERS CAN REMEMBER.>>[APPLAUSE]>>UP NEXT IS ELIZABETH LILLY.>>[APPLAUSE]>>TIME DOES NOT BRING RELIEF. YOU ALL HAVE LIED. BY EDNA SAINT ENGINE SENT MILLAY.>>TIME DOES NOT BRING RELIEF. YOU ALL HAVE LIED WHO TOLD ME TIME WOULD EASE ME OF MY PAIN! I MISS HIM IN THE WEEPING OF THE RAIN. I WANT HIM AT THE SHRINKING OF THE TIDE. THE OLD SNOWS MELT FROM EVERY MINUTE SIDE. AND LAST YEAR’S LEAVES ARE SMOKE IN EVERY LANE. BUT LAST YEAR’S BITTER LOVING MUST REMAIN HEAPED ON MY HEART AND MY OLD THOUGHTS ABIDE. THERE ARE A HUNDRED PLACES WHERE I FEAR TO GO, SO WITH HIS MEMORY THEY BRIM. AND ENTERING WITH RELIEF SOME QUIET PLACE WHERE NEVER FELL HIS FOOT OR SHONE HIS FACE, I SAY THERE IS NO MEMORY OF HIM HERE! AND SO STAND STRICKEN, SO REMEMBERING HIM.>>>>[APPLAUSE] LAST BUT CERTAINLY NOT LEAST, AHKEI TOGUN.>>[APPLAUSE]>>BEREAVEMENT, BY WILLIAM LISLE BOWLES.>>WHOSE WAS THAT GENTLE VOICE, THAT WHISPERING SWEET, PROMISED ME THOUGHT LONG DAYS OF BLISS SINCERE! SOOTHING IT STOLE ON MY DE CLUED EAR. MOST LIKE SOFT MUSIC, THAT MIGHT SOMETIMES CHEAT. THOUGHTS DARK AND DROOPING! TWAS THE VOICE OF HOPE. OF LOVE AND SOCIAL SCENES, IT SEEMED TO SPEAK. OF TRUTH, OF FRIENDSHIP, OF AFFECTION MEEK. THAT, OH! POOR FRIEND, MIGHT TO LIFE’S DOWNWARD SLOPE LEAD US IN PEACE, AND BLESS OUR LATEST HOURS. AH ME! THE PROSPECT SADDENED AS SHE SUNG. LOUD ON MY STARTLED EAR THE DEATH-BELL RUNG. CHILL DARKNESS WRAPT THE PLEASURABLE BOWERS, WHILST HORROR, POINTING TON BRETTLESS CLAY, NO PEACE BE THINE, AWAY, AWAY!>> [APPLAUSE]>>>>POETRY OUT LOUD GIVES YOU CART LAUNCH ALL THESE ARTIST AND SAYS LET’S FIND THE ONE NOT THAT YOU CAN JUST MEMORIZE, BUT IMBIBE, ENLIVEN. I’M THE ONE THAT SPEAKS TO YOU AND THEN SPEAKS THOSE WORDS TO US.>>SELECT THE SERENITY, THE STARS THEY SEE AT NIGHT ON PLACID LAKES BECAUSE THERE THEY FEEL ASSURED, UNIVERSALLY MAGNANIMOUS.>>HOW DID THE POEM LIVE IN YOU, WHAT DO YOU FEEL WHEN YOU READ THE POEM? WHAT DO YOU THINK THE AUTHOR SAID, RIGHT? AND THEY DON’T HAVE TO BE THE SAME, BECAUSE YOU ARE NOW THE VESSEL FOR THIS ART, YOU KNOW? ALLOW IT TO BLOSSOM IN YOU, ALLOW THIS POEM TO LIVE.>>[APPLAUSE]>>WHILE THE JUDGES ARE TABULATING THEIR SCORES I WOULD LIKE TO INTRODUCE YOU TO MARGARET VANDERHYE, THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE VIRGINIA COMMISSION FOR THE ARTS, WHICH HELPED MAKE ALL THIS POSSIBLE. IT’S A WONDERFUL PLEASURE TO BE HERE WITH ALL OF YOU, BACK WITH OUR SECOND YEAR WITH THE COMMUNITY IDEA STATION, WCVE. WE WOULD LIKE TO THANK OUR PARTNERS, WCVE AND VIRGINIA EDUCATION ASSOCIATION AS WELL. I’D ALSO LIKE TO WELCOME AND THANK THE COMMISSIONERS FROM THE VIRGINIA COMMISSION FOR THE ARTS FOR JOINING US HERE TODAY, FROM AROUND THE STATE.>>[APPLAUSE]>>WE HAVE SHELL GENTLEMEN KRUEGER-WEISBERG, AND SHARON KITCHEN MILLER AND SAE BAILEY AND JO HODGEN AND RITA COPELAND DANIELS, AND WANDA JUDGE, NOT SITTING IN THE ROW. HI WANDA, THANK YOU FOR COMING AND FOR REPRESENTING THE VIRGINIA COMMISSION FOR THE ARTS. WE ARE PARTNERS WITH THE NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE ARTS AND THE NATIONAL POETRY FOUNDATION TO PUT ON THIS WONDERFUL COMPETITION WHICH BEGAN WITH OVER 8000 STUDENTS AND IS DOWN TO THE FINAL THREE.>>SO ABSOLUTELY. WE ALSO WANT TO THANK OUR OTHER PARTNERS, MEG GROUPER, WHO IS THE PRESIDENT OF THE VIRGINIA EDUCATION ASSOCIATION, WHO COULD NOT BE WITH US TODAY, PHILLIP FORGESS, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE VIRGINIA EDUCATION ASSOCIATION, AND JOHN O’NEILL, WHO IS THE COMMUNICATIONS, MARKETING AND TECHNOLOGY DIRECTOR FROM THE VIRGINIA EDUCATION ASSOCIATION. WE ARE SO PLEASED TO HAVE YOU AS PARTNERS WITH US FOR THIS WONDERFUL PROGRAM, AND WE LOOK FORWARD TO CONTINUING PARTNERSHIPS IN THE YEARS AHEAD. OUR HOPE IS THAT WE WILL BE ABLE TO HAVE THIS PROGRAM REPRODUCED SO THAT OTHER STUDENTS IN OTHER PLACES AROUND THE COMMONWEALTH CAN SEE WHAT WE HAVE BEEN DOING AND WHAT POSSIBILITIES THERE ARE FOR STUDENTS JUST LIKE YOU. BEFORE WE ANNOUNCE THE WINNERS, I’D LIKE TO SPEAK JUST FOR A MOMENT TO THE 12 COMPETITORS TODAY. THE PEOPLE WHOSE NAMES I JUST MENTIONED, AND I SUSPECT MANY OF YOU IN THE AUDIENCE, ARE PEOPLE WHO HAVE PUT THEMSELVES OUT THERE, EVERY DAY. THEY STAND AND ARE ACCOUNTED FOR, THEY STAND BEFORE OTHER PEOPLE, AND THEY KIND OF GIVE A LITTLE BIT OF THEMSELVES. IT TAKES GUTS, DOESN’T IT, TO GET UP AND DO WHAT YOU DID. YOU ARE SHARING SOMETHING [APPLAUSE]>>YOU ARE SHARING SOMETHING OF YOURSELF, PUTTING YOURSELF OUT THERE IN A WAY THAT MAKES YOU VULNERABLE, AND CONNECT WITH US IN A WAY THAT IS SIMPLY BEING ABLE TO HAVE A CONVERSATION DOES NOT. WHEN YOU COMMUNICATE THROUGH ART, PARTICULARLY THROUGH THE LYRICAL FORM OF COMMUNICATION LIKE POETRY, YOU ARE REALLY MAKING A CONNECTION THAT EXTENDS AND IS MORE MEANINGFUL BECAUSE YOU ARE SHARING A LITTLE BIT OF YOUR SOUL. WE HOPE THAT YOU ARE EXEMPLARS FOR OTHER STUDENTS AROUND THE COMMONWEALTH, TO SHARE WHAT LITTLE BIT OF THEMSELVES, TO MAKE BETTER CONNECTIONS, BECAUSE IN THE WORLD TODAY, WE CAN CERTAINLY USE MORE CONNECTIONS AND MORE MEANINGFUL CONVERSATION WITH ONE ANOTHER. SO THANK YOU ALL FOR THE EFFORT THAT YOU HAVE DONE TODAY, AND LET’S GIVE THEM ONE MORE ROUND OF APPLAUSE!>> [APPLAUSE]>>I BELIEVE THE JUDGES HAVE DETERMINED A WINNER AND RUNNER-UP. BEFORE WE ANNOUNCE THE RUNNER-UP AND WINNER·.. THE STATE CHAMPION WILL RECEIVE $200 AND AN ALL EXPENSE PAID TRIP TO WASHINGTON, DC WITH A CHAPERONE TO ATTEND THE NATIONAL POETRY OUT LOUD COMPETITION ON APRIL 28-29. THE CHAMPION’S SCHOOL WILL RECEIVE A $500 STIPEND FOR THE PURCHASE OF POETRY BOOKS. ONE RUNNER-UP WILL RECEIVE $100, AND A $200 STIPEND FOR THE PURCHASE OF POETRY BOOKS FOR THEIR SCHOOL LIBRARY. AT THIS POINT I WOULD LIKE TO WELCOME UP PHILLIP FORGIT, WHO IS THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE VIRGINIA EDUCATION ASSOCIATION, AND HE IS A PAST NATIONAL WINNER OF THE NATIONAL EDUCATION ASSOCIATION AWARDS FOR TEACHING. HE IS GOING TO PRESENT OUR AWARDS TO OUR THREE COMPETITORS WHO ARE OUR FINALISTS. SO WITHOUT FURTHER ADIEU, I WOULD LIKE TO PRESENT TO YOU THE SECOND PLACE PERSON, THE SECOND RUNNER UP, ACTUALLY, AND THAT PERSON IS ELIZABETH LILLY.>>[APPLAUSE]>>>>THE FIRST RUNNER UP AND, SHALL WE SAY, THE POETRY EXPERT WHO WILL REPRESENT US IN THE EVENT THAT THE CHAMPION CANNOT PERFORM HIS OR HER DUTIES, THE FIRST RUNNER UP IS CHARISMA HENRY.>>[APPLAUSE]>>CONGRATULATIONS! AND AHKEI TOGUN IS WINNER OF THE STATE CHAMPIONSHIP POETRY OUT LOUD COMPETITION!>> [APPLAUSE]>>CONGRATULATIONS TO YOU AND THOSE WHO HAVE SUPPORTED YOU THROUGH POETRY OUT LOUD·· WE WOULD LIKE TO THANK THE VIRGINIA COMMISSION FOR THE ARTS, THE NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE ARTS, AND THE POETRY FOUNDATION FOR THEIR SUPPORT OF THE POETRY OUT LOUD PROGRAM IN VIRGINIA. IN ADDITION, WE WOULD LIKE TO THANK THE VIRGINIA EDUCATION ASSOCIATION FOR THEIR FINANCIAL SUPPORT OF TODAY’S BROADCAST. MANY THANKS GOES TO WCVE FOR HOSTING AND PRODUCING THE VIRGINIA FINALS. AND THANK YOU FOR JOINING US! SEE YOU NEXT YEAR! GOOD NIGHT!>> CAPTIONING PROVIDED BY CAPTION ASSOCIATES, LLC WWW.CAPTIONASSOCIATES.COM

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