Tuesday April 17th, 2012
Students and judges began arriving at 8am at the Isabel Bader theatre in Toronto on Monday April 16th to begin a day of poetry recitation and competition that lasted into the early evening. 29 school champions from secondary schools across Ontario met to compete in the Poetry In Voice Ontario Finals. Each wanted to be among the top six students invited to compete at the Grand Finals the following evening.
Contestants were divided into three groups for a morning session, a midday session, and an afternoon session. Each session, in English and French, was graded by a different panel of judges, all of them poets, writers, or poetry scholars from Ontario. They included Marguerite Andersen, Catherine Bush, Christine Klein-Lataud, Kathryn Kuitenbrower, Jeff Latosik, Suzanne Legault, Nataliya Lenina, Katherine Leyton, Jacob McArthur Mooney, Swann Paradis, Adam Sol, Meaghan Strimas, Matthew Tierney, Gaston Tremblay, Paul Vermeersch, and Lélia Young.
After excellent recitations of poems as varied as “A Glass Tube Ecstasy” by Jerome Rothenberg, “C’est moi-même, Terreur, c’est moi-même” by Aimé Césaire, and “No Coward Soul is Mine” by Emily Brontë, the six top-scoring students were announced. They are, in alphabetical order by school, Daniela Galdamez from Bayridge Secondary School, Sadie Anne Hirschfield from Etobicoke School of the Arts, Sydney Gilchrist from London Central Secondary School, Mary Jane Egan from Mary, Mother of God School, Jeff Hunt from St. John’s Kilmarnock, and Alexander Gagliano from Upper Canada College.
Sadie Anne Hirschfield won first prize and $1,000 as well as $500 for the Etobicoke School of the Arts school library for the purchase of poetry books. She recited “Danse Russe” by William Carlos Williams, “Jack Would Speak Through the Imperfect Medium of Alice” by Alice Notley, and “To the Ladies” by Lady Mary Chudleigh.
All six Ontario Champions will join this year’s three Quebec Champions to compete in the Poetry In Voice Grand Finals on the evening of Tuesday April 17th again on the Isabel Bader theatre stage.
We wish them all the best of luck!