Poetry and Performance Merge in the SMR Slam - Southern Maryland Headline News

Poetry and Performance Merge in the SMR Slam


From left: Hazel Ptack from St. Mary's Bryantown school; Moira Flynn, St. Mary's Bryantown; Michael Heck, St. Mary's Bryantown; Connor Bullis from Father Andrew White, who placed first; Brenden Carruth, St. Mary's Bryantown, who placed second; Bradley Carruth, St. Mary's Bryantown; and Elise Carney, Father Andrew White, who placed third. (Photo: St. Mary's Ryken HS)
From left: Hazel Ptack from St. Mary's Bryantown school; Moira Flynn, St. Mary's Bryantown; Michael Heck, St. Mary's Bryantown; Connor Bullis from Father Andrew White, who placed first; Brenden Carruth, St. Mary's Bryantown, who placed second; Bradley Carruth, St. Mary's Bryantown; and Elise Carney, Father Andrew White, who placed third. (Photo: St. Mary's Ryken HS)

LEONARDTOWN, Md. (May 14, 2011) — Students may still stand up in front of their classmates to recite a poem they had to memorize for homework, but one of the growing trends is to "slam" it. The poem, that is.

St. Mary's Ryken recently held the inaugural SMR Slam to celebrate National Poetry Month. Middle school students from the area's Catholic schools were invited to participate, and 33 students from Father Andrew White, Little Flower Catholic School, St. Mary's Bryantown and St. Peter's School took the stage, performing poetry for an audience filled with family, friends and teachers.

According to the Academy of American Poets website, slam poetry is "one of the most vital and energetic movements in poetry." A slam is a competition in which a student can present original work or recite the work of an established poet. There is a panel of judges and points are awarded for the manner and enthusiasm of the poem's recitation.

After all students "slammed," seven students were chosen as semi-finalists. After slamming their poems again, three winners were chosen. Connor Bullis from Father Andrew White, slammed "The One Minute Sermon" by poet Tamara Lowe. His energetic performance earned him first place. Second place went to Brenden Carruth from St. Mary's Bryantown who performed a poem he wrote, and Elise Carney from Father Andrew White grabbed third place by slamming her original poem. Winners received prizes donated by St. Mary's Ryken.

Earlier, St. Mary's Ryken students caught the poetry bug and 16 students performed during the national Poetry Out Loud competition at the school. Three students — Cori Eisele, Kane Roland and Alex Wyville — advanced to the regional completion and senior Kane Roland went on the state competition.

St. Mary's Ryken is a college preparatory high school. Each year, 99% of graduates go on to college and the Class of 2010 earned almost $9 million in scholarships. Students come from many different counties across the region including Anne Arundel, Calvert, Charles, King George, Prince George's and St. Mary's counties.

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