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In literary extracurricular news, the poetry team gave powerful performances of eight poems in the preliminary rounds of the recent 10th Annual ALL CITY Youth Poetry Slam Festival, held this year at LSU’s School of Music and Dramatic Arts. Started in 2007 and hosted by Forward Arts, the festival combines a city-wide team and individual performance poetry competition with enrichment and community-building activities designed to nurture and amplify the voices of teen writers. Writing and performance workshops, a cook-out, a semi-formal event, and a late-night open mic provided many opportunities to participate in Baton Rouge’s growing youth poetry culture.
The Episcopal team this year included seniors Julia Powell, Gabrielle Bienasz, and Ellis Herring, and underclassmen LC Harper, Alyssa Macaluso, and Ethan Wax (Taylor Torrence had prepared a poem to perform but was unable to attend), and they each performed their original poetry. Julia and Gabrielle also executed a challenging “group piece”—a poem for multiple voices. They worked throughout the year at writing, revising, and designing performances for these pieces, and they all did a fantastic job, placing second in each of our preliminary bouts. Though the team as a whole did not advance to finals, Julia Powell and Ellis Herring earned high enough scores to compete in finals as individuals. Julia’s moving finals performance received rare scores of 9.5/10 and higher from the judges as she shared the stage with top teams and poets from the festival and internationally acclaimed feature poet Danez Smith.
Throughout the competition, teams and individuals embrace the “Spirit of the Slam” with the mantra “The points are not the point – the poetry is the point.” Our students’ engaged listening and support for competing teams and individuals, as well as each other, embodied that spirit. Please congratulate these students for their fine showing!
by Karin deGravelles,
Upper School English Faculty
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