After a spirited competition, congratulations go to the winner of the Waynflete School finals for Poetry Out Loud, Ella Hannaford! Cheers also go to our runner-up, Sarah Acheson-Field! Both Ella and Sarah will now prepare for the Maine regional finals, held at Thornton Academy on February 28th. Should Ella be unable to compete, Sarah will be set to step in. The top five scorers in the regional showdown will continue to the State championship later in the spring.
The process progressing to the School final on January 5th involved multiple stages of preparation, classroom competition and workshops. Each performance at the Waynflete final event was scored by an accuracy judge and three performance judges. Waynflete English teacher Lorry Stillman looked after accuracy. Visiting performance judges for the contest on Thursday were Gary Lawless, Martin Steingesser and Jeri Theriault.
Gary is an owner-manager (with his wife Beth) of Gulf of Maine Books in Brunswick as well as a prolific award-winning poet, editor, publisher and educator. Gary was just selected to receive the 2017 Constance H. Carlson Public Humanities Prize, recognizing contribution to public humanities in Maine.
Martin is a former Portland poet laureate, musician, interpreter and translator. In 2006, Martin received the Bill Bonyun Award from the Maine Alliance for Arts Education, recognizing talent as well as professionalism.
Jeri we know well, since she is a former Waynflete writing and literature teacher, but she has long been writing poetry. Her chapbook In the Museum of Surrender won the 2013 Encircle chapbook contest, and she is a three-time Pushcart Prize nominee as well as a Fulbright recipient.
Each competitor prepared to deliver two poems split between two rounds of competition. The first round was contained within the drama room for a limited audience of judges and the other competitors. Then, during the Thursday assembly an hour later, after a warm-up poem recited by Martin, the performers brought their poems to life for the Upper School.
Good luck to Ella and Sarah as they prepare for the regional contest!