Conant junior to compete in state Poetry Out Loud finals Friday

  • Conant High School junior Ella Weinmann is a state finalist in the Poetry Out Loud competition and will compete in the finals at the state house in Concord on Friday, March 11. Staff photo by Ben Conant

  • Conant High School junior Ella Weinmann is a state finalist in the Poetry Out Loud competition and will compete in the finals at the state house in Concord on Friday, March 11. Staff photo by Ben Conant

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 3/9/2022 2:34:14 PM
Modified: 3/9/2022 2:33:41 PM

Conant High School junior Ella Weinmann will compete in the state Poetry Out Loud finals at the State House in Concord Friday evening. Weinmann was selected after winning in her Conant classroom and in the schoolwide competition and then advancing in the virtual regional competition.

Weinmann has a leg up on her competitors; her father Leon is a published poet and professor who’d often suggest she memorize a poem or two when she got bored around the house. Poetry is in her blood and in her background, but she said she never expected it to reach this point. 

“I was actually very surprised to win the school competition,” Weinmann said, “because I thought there were a lot of really, really great people there.”

For Weinmann, reading poetry goes far beyond simply memorizing the lines and reciting them, and the Poetry Out Loud competition allows her to not just read back the authors’ words, but to convey the emotions they stir as well. 

“I think like if you just memorize the words, you don't actually focus on what they mean,” Weinmann said. “That's really not the purpose of it. The purpose is to portray what the words mean –  between the lines –  while you're reciting it. Even if you do a really short poem, being able to portray what it means without just saying what it means is really the purpose of the competition.”

Students competing in Poetry Out Loud select from a list of predetermined poems; one written before the 20th century and one with 25 lines or fewer. Weinmann’s initial pick was Emily Dickinson’s “It was not Death, for I stood up,” a timely selection. 

“It's about like her having this feeling of depression basically, but there's not a word for it. And she's going through all these things that it's not, and saying that because she doesn't have a word for it, or a reason for her feeling this way, that it makes it exponentially worse. Which really is how a lot of people are  feeli ng nowadays.”

Weinmann also read “The Windhover” by Gerald Manley Hopkins, about marveling at the wonders of nature, and plans to read “The Collar” by George Herbert at Friday’s competition, to allow her to run the gamut of emotions from sadness to awe to anger. “The Collar” is about a priest grown frustrated with his religion.

“He's not getting anything out of it,” Weinmann said. “He's putting so much into it. So it's a really emotional poem.”

Weinmann and seven other students from around New Hampshire compete in the state finals Friday at 5 p.m. for a shot at going to the national competition. The event will be livestreamed by the New Hampshire Council for the Arts at facebook.com/NHArtsCouncil.


Jobs



Support Local Journalism

Subscribe to the Monadnock Ledger-Transcript, your source for Peterborough area news.


Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

20 Grove St.
Peterborough, NH 03458
603-924-7172

 

© 2021 Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy