Montague high school student chosen for National Poetry Competition

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Montague high school student chosen for National Poetry Competition

Montague Regional High School student Chloe Harris was chosen from thousands of entries for a national poetry competition.

Harris, 16, will go to the Poetry in Voice student recitation competition in Vancouver April 18-21.

"I was surprised, I was definitely surprised," she said.

'I never would have done poetry if I wasn't in her class'

Harris discovered poetry through Trisha Burrows' English class, about three months ago.  

"She's the one who got me into doing this," she said. "I never would have done poetry if I wasn't in her class."

Burrows encourages students to enter the competition every year, and Harris was chosen to represent the school.

Burrows recorded the video of Harris reciting her poems and submitted it to the online semifinals.

Harris was chosen to be one of the 12 students from across Canada in the English stream — and only one of two representing eastern Canada.

Competition promotes poetry

Poetry in Voice was founded in 2010 by Scott Griffin.

The idea is promote the art of poetry and encourage students to learn poems and recite them.

Students are required to memorise three poems and recite them, and are judged on dozens of criteria including performance, interpretation, and accuracy.

There are three categories, or streams — English, French and bilingual.

The first prize is each category is $5,000 with another $1,000 going to the student's school library.

'It doesn't feel like a poem anymore'

Harris has will recite One Art by Elizabeth Bishop, Wolf Lake by Elizabeth Bachinsky, and Opus 75, Sestina in B-flat for the Glockenspiel by Adam Sol.

She knows them well so she said the challenge is to now keep them sounding interesting. 

"My goal is to keep it as new as I can," said Harris.

"I think she's got an excellent chance, I think that her poems are very engaging and her delivery is very unique," said Burrows. 

The English teacher said Harris has chosen lengthy and difficult poems.

"She sort of goes into a zone and just does the poem and it feels like she's there telling you a story about something that happened, it doesn't feel like a poem anymore," Burrows explained. 

Teacher has passion for poetry

Burrows has had students qualify four years in a row now for the national competition.

"Each year I just keep thinking you know, it's just too good to be true to go again, but I've got some pretty incredible students that do a great job"

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