Scroll down to see a list of who is featured in this piece.
On February 26, 2018, the school champions of 20 North Dakota High Schools met to compete for the state championship, in poetry recitation. Each student had memorized three poems (at least one had to be from before 1900). They all recited one, then they all recited another. The judges' ratings were compiled and the top five got the chance to recite their third poem. The judges voted, conferred, and the top five were ranked. The reciter who came in first, Maria Modi, goes to the national competition. The top three win cash prizes for their schools and themselves This contest has been going on since 2006 -- it is an initiative of the Poetry Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, and occurs in all fifty states, DC, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands. The North Dakota Council for the Arts puts it on here,with support from the North Dakota Humanities Council.
How do you judge a poetry contest? There were six judges. Two simply listened for accuracy. If someone missed a line or changed a word, they got points off. The other four judges learn a scoring system that has them listening for poise and presentation, understanding of the poem's meaning, use of the voice, and other aspects of the performance.
This program features highlights of the event, but there were many more good recitations than I had time to include. Besides the high school competitors, you will hear a portion of the performance by Joseph Davis. He grew up in Minot and now lives in the Twin Cities. He is an active, performing poet who came as a special guest.
If you listen to this, you will hear readings by David Moreno, Havoline Maxwell, Kayli Stanger, Dylan Red Bow, Natasha Bergeron, Camryn Alt, Kansas Sailer, Sara Jones, Maggie Weeks, Amanda Soares, Emily Gilsrud, Sarah Vadnais, Maria Kalb, and Maria Modi. Other reciters will be featured on various days of "Main Street."