Welstead Wins Poetry in Voice

By Will Hall

Jonathan Welstead (IB2 McHugh’s) was named the champion of the 2011 Poetry in Voice competition on Tuesday night, taking home the first-place prize of $5000, as well as a $2500 donation to the school library, $500 of which is earmarked for poetry books.

Welstead was one of twelve competitors from high schools across Ontario. In the regular round, he recited Robert Burns’ “to a Mouse” and Gerald Manley Hopkins’ “The Windhover,” which he had performed in Friday’s assembly. In the final round, he chose T.S. Eliot’s “Preludes.”

“It was his ‘Preludes’ that did it,” said philanthropist and founder of the Griffin Poetry Prize, Scott Griffin.

The criteria for evaluation included level of physical presence, articulation, difficulty, appropriateness of dramatization, and evidence of understanding. Although extra points were awarded for bilingualism, Welstead was one of three candidates not to recite a poem in French.

The competition was hosted by Canadian actor and one of the founders of the Soulpepper Theatre Company, Albert Schultz. Among the judges were Soulpepper founder Diana Leblanc, Canadian poet and childrens’ writer Dennis Lee, and poet Karen Solie.

The competition itself has received coverage in the Toronto Star, the National Post, and Maclean’s, who will be posting video from the competition.

Take a look at some short clips and John Welstead’s interview at: