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NO. R-422.  House concurrent resolution congratulating Caleb Smith-Hastings on winning the 2008 Vermont Poetry Out Loud Competition.


Offered by: Representatives Jewett of Ripton, Bray of New Haven, Maier of Middlebury and Nuovo of Middlebury

Whereas, in an effort to enlighten high school students to the potential of the poetic phrase regardless of its meter, the National Endowment for the Arts sponsors the Poetry Out Loud Competition with both state and national recitation contests, and

Whereas, in a state competition, all presenters are instructed to prepare three poems for recitation in order that they are set for participation in each of the three competitive rounds, and

Whereas, the 2008 Vermont competition was held in the Pavilion Auditorium in Montpelier, and 20 schools, an increase over the number entered in 2007, were represented, and

Whereas, Caleb Smith-Hastings, a Middlebury Union High School (MUHS) junior and the 2007 second-place winner, returned well prepared to claim the state championship title, and

Whereas, Caleb chose Beat! Beat! Drums!, a Walt Whitman war poem in which each stanza begins with a call to war in the form of a musical alliteration, as his opening selection, and

Whereas, having survived the first of the competition’s three rounds, he proceeded to his second poem, a quieter and far less intense choice, How I Discovered Poetry, crafted from the pen of Marilyn Nelson, and

Whereas, Caleb again earned the judges’, respect and was sent forward to recite his third and final poem, Dulce Et Decourum Est (translated as “it is sweet and right”), Wilfred Owen’s famous poetic reflection on the First World War, and

Whereas, his decision to turn and yell a dramatic line from this war poem directly at the judges clinched first place for this accomplished young orator, and

Whereas, as the first place winner, Caleb was awarded a $200 prize and MUHS was granted a $500 allowance to purchase poetry books, and

Whereas, with three different poems at the ready, perhaps including one by Robert Frost, Caleb will represent Vermont at the national finals of the Poetry Out Loud Competition to be held in Washington, D.C., on April 29, now therefore be it

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives:

That the general assembly congratulates Caleb Smith-Hastings on winning the 2008 Vermont Poetry Out Loud Competition and wishes him the best of luck at the national finals in Washington, D.C., and be it further

Resolved:  That the secretary of state be directed to send a copy of this resolution to Caleb Smith-Hastings at Middlebury Union High School and to the school’s English department.

Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont