Wyoming Arts Council

Guernsey-Sunrise senior wins Wyoming Poetry Out Loud competition

Sara Needles (left), administrator for the Department of State Parks and Cultural Resources,congratulates Wyoming Poetry Out Loud

winner Danielle Then of Guernsey-Sunrise H.S. Photo by Linda Coatney.

Danielle Then, a senior at Guernsey-Sunrise High School, was named state champion at the Wyoming Poetry Out Loud finals Nov. 17 in Cheyenne. She will represent the state at the national finals of Poetry Out Loud April 27-28, 2009, in Washington, D.C.

Second place went to Jordan Lawrence, a ninth-grader at Shoshoni High School.

The awards were presented by Sara Needles, administrator of the Wyoming Cultural Resources Division, at a Nov. 18 ceremony in the State Capitol Rotunda.

First-place finisher also receives $200 and a selection of books. Her school receives a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry books. Second-place finisher receives $100 and a selection of books. Her school receives a $200 stipend to buy poetry books.

At school, Danielle is active in speech, FCCLA, choir and Spanish Club. She’s received a scholarship to attend Sheridan College next year. Jordan is active in her school’s dance team.

Also participating in the state finals was Deb Cobb, a senior at Wright High School. She is on the Wright speech and debate team and performs on the drama team.

Judges for the Nov. 17 competition were Jackson’s Bob Berky, actor, playwright and theatrical clown; Cheyenne’s Liz Skrabacz, coordinator of the LCCC honors program and an English instructor; and David Neary of Lander, who is vice chair of the Wyoming Arts Council and managing director of the Wyoming Shakespeare Festival Company. Marcia Dunsmore of Four Corners, Wyo., served at accuracy judge and also coordinates Poetry Out Loud for the Wyoming Arts Council. It was held at the Historic Atlas Theatre in downtown Cheyenne.

The Wyoming Arts Council invites high school students involved in creative writing, drama, and speech-and-debate to encourage their teachers to sign up for next year’s Poetry Out Loud program. We will send out registration information in the spring of 2009. School competitions will be held in September and October and the state finals will be held in Cheyenne in mid-November. The WAC is still discussing next year’s schedule. Stay tuned to these pages for more info.Meanwhile, you can learn more about the program at the web site at http://www.poetryoutloud.org/. Or call the WAC at 307-777-7742 or e-mail Michael Shay at mshay@state.wy.us

One of the poems recited by Danielle Then was a classic by Thomas Hardy.

Channel Firing
By Thomas Hardy

That night your great guns, unawares,
Shook all our coffins as we lay,
And broke the chancel window-squares,
We thought it was the Judgment-day

And sat upright. While drearisome
Arose the howl of wakened hounds:
The mouse let fall the altar-crumb,
The worms drew back into the mounds,

The glebe cow drooled. Till God called, “No;
It’s gunnery practice out at sea
Just as before you went below;
The world is as it used to be:

“All nations striving strong to make
Red war yet redder. Mad as hatters
They do no more for Christés sake
Than you who are helpless in such matters.

“That this is not the judgment-hour
For some of them’s a blessed thing,
For if it were they’d have to scour
Hell’s floor for so much threatening….

“Ha, ha. It will be warmer when
I blow the trumpet (if indeed
I ever do; for you are men,
And rest eternal sorely need).”

So down we lay again. “I wonder,
Will the world ever saner be,”
Said one, “than when He sent us under
In our indifferent century!”

And many a skeleton shook his head.
“Instead of preaching forty year,”
My neighbour Parson Thirdly said,
“I wish I had stuck to pipes and beer.”

Again the guns disturbed the hour,
Roaring their readiness to avenge,
As far inland as Stourton Tower,
And Camelot, and starlit Stonehenge.

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