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Eastern View students take on ‘Poetry Out Loud’ competition

“Poetry lives in our hearts,” said Eastern View drama instructor Jeff Walker as he addressed a group of students, parents and judges in the school's auditorium last Thursday evening.

While students nervously chit-chatted in the front row, judges perused their paperwork, and anxious parents waited to see their child take the stage, Walker talked about the school's participation in a national program called Poetry Out Loud where students memorize and recite in public a poem of their choice.

Walker got his drama students involved in previous years but this year English Instructional Team Leader Jim Mulreany extended the program to Eastern View's English Department.
Poems chosen were not easy including such poets as William Wordsworth, Anne Bradstreet, Maya Angelou and Edgar Allen Poe.

Contestants were judged not only on the accuracy of their poem but their physical presence, voice and articulation, dramatic appropriateness, level of difficulty, their understanding of the material and their overall performance.

Students came prepared with more than one selection in the event that a proven winner wasn't selected in the first round.

That proved the case as five finalists braved round two of the competition.

In the end, it was 16-year-old junior Daniel Grotz who will head to the Wayside Theatre in Middletown in February for the regional competition. His recitation of 'I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud' by William Wordsworth was delivered with poise, grace and a definite connection with the poet.

Asked why he had chosen this selection, Grotz said that it had been one of his favorites since he serendipitously discovered in during a freshman English glass.

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