Wow! I have worked in four different states and with some strong high school programs. I have never been as impressed with a student event as I was with the Poetry Out Loud finals at BHS this afternoon.
Poetry Out Loud (quoted from http://www.poetryoutloud.org/about/)
Recitation and performance are major new trends in poetry. There has been a recent resurgence of poetry as an oral art form, as seen in the slam poetry movement and the immense popularity of hip-hop music. Poetry Out Loud builds on that momentum by inviting the dynamic aspects of slam poetry, spoken word, and theater into the English class.
The National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation have partnered with State Arts Agencies of the United States to support the expansion of Poetry Out Loud, which encourages the nation’s youth to learn about great poetry through memorization and performance. This exciting program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about their literary heritage.
Amazingly, every student memorizes and recites a poem as a part of BHS’s English program. There is no other high school in the state of Massachusetts that has this level of participation. Eight finalists were selected.
While every performance was noteworthy, the BHS poet laureate for 2009 is David Murray.
Congratulations David! Recognition is also deserved by the entire BHS English Department under the leadership of Bob Conceison. Clearly there was a tremendous amount of work invested in bringing this national program to the students of Burlington High School.