For West Bloomfield Teen, Poetry is a Passion
West Bloomfield High School senior Olivia Finkelstein competes in state poetry recitation contest this weekend.
Patch will regularly spotlight young people in the Greater West Bloomfield area community who are successful, talented and just plain awesome. Today we spotlight someone who is no stranger to the spotlight:
- Age: 17
- School: West Bloomfield High School
- Introduction: Olivia is a high school senior who has been involved with forensics (Quiz Bowl captain) and drama (auditioned for the spring musical Ragtime this week, too) at the school since 2009.
- Achievement: Olivia will stand up as a favorite among 8,000 high school students in reciting poetry, as part of the state Poetry Out Loud competition in East Lansing this weekend. If she wins, Olivia will move on to the national finals of the eighth-annual contest sponsored by the Poetry Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts in Washington, D.C. this April.
- Keys to awesomeness: Olivia participated in the contest last year and although she didn't win, she said she feels more confident after the experience. "I know what's going to happen and I have a better idea what the judges are looking for," Olivia said.
WBHS English teacher Jennifer McQuillan, who is one of six teachers at the school involved with the Poetry Out Loud program, said that she expects Olivia to do well.
"She is poised, extremely intelligent, extraordinarily articulate, and confident — all qualities that will serve her well in the competition," McQuillan said. "Olivia represents one of the best students West Bloomfield has to offer."
Among the poems she will be reading is her favorite, "Constantly Risking Absurdity," by Lawrence Ferlinghetti, an American Beat poet. "It’s about the constant struggle of the poet to capture beauty, by putting his creative self on display all the time," Olivia said. "I read it about two or three months ago and I've been practicing ever since."
Olivia resolves to study linguistics in the world of higher education as part of a lifelong love of the spoken word: "I really love poetry. My mother read poetry to my siblings and I when she was pregnant with us," she said.
Do you know a local young person who deserves applause because he or she shovels the elderly neighbors' driveway? Or perhaps athletic achievements are worth sharing. Everyone deserves attention, and we want to tell these stories. Email nominations to local editor Tim Rath at email@example.com, provide the information shown above and include a photo with names and ages. Then, come back for our Whiz Kid spotlight.