By Aaron Retherford
It started with 5,179 students from across the Green Mountain State. It dwindled to 50, then 10, before finally the 10th Annual Vermont Poetry Out Loud Competition was down to the final three last Thursday night at Vermont PBS Studio in Colchester.
Harwood Union student Anna Van Dine was one of those final three competitors, vying for the $200 prize and more importantly, a trip for two to Washington D.C. to represent Vermont at the National Finals.
Van Dine and fellow Central Vermonter Rose Meriam of Spaulding opened up the night as the first two competitors out of the field of 10. Van Dine recited The Legend by Garrett Hongo, while Meriam followed with Caged Bird by Maya Angelou.
Van Dine and Meriam started off the competition with a bang, but after the next eight competitors followed with just as much poise and stage presence, the more than 100 spectators knew it would be a tough decision for the five judges to narrow the field down to three.
Van Dine came back in the second round with Lisel Mueller’s Monet Refuses the Operation, and Meriam recited Dover Beach by Matthew Arnold. However, it was only Van Dine who advanced, facing off against Bellows Free Academy’s Samuel Boudreau and Burr and Burton Academy’s Emily Williams in the third and final round.
Boudreau went first, leaving onlookers in awe after reciting One Hundred Love Sonnets: XVII by Pablo Nerudo.
Van Dine took the stage next and recited Friendship After Love by Ella Wheeler Wilcox. Williams was last with Cartoon Physics, Part 1 by Nick Flynn, the second time that poem was recited that night.
In the end, Boudreau earned the trip to D.C., and Williams was runner-up, receiving a $100 prize and $200 for her school’s library.