TMI Episcopal junior Meredith Ervin won first place in the school’s seventh annual Poetry Out Loud recitation contest, held Nov. 26 in TMI’s Margaret Alkek Theater. Ervin received a copy of “So Far So Good: Poems 2014-2018,” by Ursula K. Le Guin, and will represent TMI in the Texas state competition.
Runner-up was senior Bridget Lynch, who will take part in the state competition if Ervin is unable to attend.
The winners were chosen from among eight contestants. Freshmen Kailey Kessler and Anaya Zachery, sophomores Arun Simha and Maria Tirado, juniors Ervin and Rebekah Perales and seniors Lynch and Lydia Saucedo were chosen by their English teachers from classroom competitions in all four Upper School grades.
Students recited from memory one poem in each of two rounds, including the work of a diverse selection of poets such as David Barber, Lewis Carroll, Garrett Hongo, Taylor Mali, Jamaal May, Pattiann Rogers and John Straley. Contestants are evaluated on accuracy, dramatic appropriateness, evidence of understanding, physical presence, voice and articulation for an overall performance score.
Judges of the TMI contest were local poets Jenny Browne and Bonnie Lyons. Browne, a former poet laureate of both San Antonio and Texas, is the author of three collections and teaches creative writing at Trinity University. Lyons has published eight books, including two poetry collections and “Passion and Craft: Conversations with Notable Writers,” and is retired from teaching literature at the University of Texas at San Antonio.
The statewide contest will be held Feb. 23, 2019, in Austin. The winner of the Texas state contest will go on to national competition April 30-May 1, 2019, in Washington D.C.
Poetry Out Loud is a national program that encourages high-school students to learn about great poetry through memorization, performance and competition. Founded in 2005 by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, the program has competitions in high schools across the country, with more than 300,000 students participating last year.