Today at the Isabel Bader Theatre, nine students were selected from a pool of 39 to advance to the main event of the 2013 Poetry In Voice National Finals, which will take place tomorrow night at 7pm.
Caitlin Botros from Father James Whelihan School, Kyla Kane from Vancouver Technical Secondary, and Dede Akolo from Little Flower Academy advanced in the English prize stream.
Natasha Jadavji from Crofton House School, Anne Leblanc from CEGEP Lionel-Groulx, and Sarah Kordlouie from Villa Sainte-Marcelline moved ahead in the French prize stream.
Aisha Nafees from Westmount High School, Khalil Mair from Toronto French School, and Elisabeth Sohier-Poirier from Lycée français de Toronto will compete tomorrow night in the Bilingual prize stream.
Throughout the day, students competed against one another in their chosen prize stream. Local poets and educators Marguerite Andersen, Linda Besner, Dani Couture, Jeramy Dodds, Suzanne Legault, Michael Lista, Hoa Nguyen, Sara Peters, Lélia Young scored the students’ recitations.
The students recited a rich selection of poems, including “Chicago” by Carl Sandburg, “Wolf Lake” by Elizabeth Bachinsky, and “Blank Sonnet” by George Elliott Clarke.
When the students weren’t competing, they were attending workshops run by poets Swann Paradis and Stuart Ross. Paradis’s session focused on the rhythm and rhyme of poetry, while Ross had students try new approaches to writing poems.
The competitors travelled from as near as the Greater Toronto Area and as far as Whitehorse, Yukon and Newfoundland to participate in this inaugural National Finals. They were selected from among the candidates who competed in the Poetry In Voice Online Semifinals in the winter.
Tomorrow afternoon, the students will have a private Q&A session with world-renowned poet and author Margaret Atwood. Then in the evening, the top nine students will compete for $25,000 in awards and school stipends and the title of 2013 Champion.
Tickets to the National Finals are available for purchase online http://recite2013.eventbrite.ca. Any remaining tickets will be available for purchase at the door of the theatre.