The annual Belmont Hill poetry fest is a long-standing tradition that is cherished by all in the school community, as it offers all boys the opportunity to present a poem of their choosing. One boy from each English class moves on to the semi-final round, and, from there, about a dozen top presentations move onto the final round, which takes place during a long school meeting.
Thirteen boys were finalists in this year’s poetry fest:
Alex Czarnecki (VI): “What the Confederate Flag Said to the American Flag” by R. J. Walker
Armin Thomas (VI): “Beowulf” Prologue, recited in both Old English and Modern English
Brian Antonelli (V): “59” by Harry Baker
Macdony Charles (V): “Dinosaurs in the Hood” by Danez Smith
Gavin Colbert (V): “The New Colossus” by Emma Lazarus
Ben Awtrey (IV): “Those Winter Sundays” by Robert Hayden
Charlie Donahue (IV): “Paul Revere’s Ride” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Harrison Hill (III): “Ode to a Large Tuna in a Market” by Pablo Neruda
Elias Hyde (III): “Anthem for the Doomed Youth” by Wilfred Owen
Jack Weldon (III): “Ulysses” by Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Kai Ogenah (II): “Son to Mother” by Maya Angelou
Daniel Bittner (I): “Charge of the Light Brigade” by Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Jacob Czarnecki (I): “Invictus” by William Ernest Henley
Though all the finalists were phenomenal, only four could be crowned winners and have their names forever inscribed on the banner in Morse.
Senior Alex Czarnecki’s (‘17) recitation of “What the Confederate Flag Said to the American Flag” was a powerful poem choice with a deeper message and Czarnecki performed it with an inflection that reflected the content of the poem.
First Former Daniel Bittner ‘22 wowed the chapel with his incredibly energetic presentation of “Charge of the Light Brigade,” earning him the honor of a distinctive recitation, an uncommon feat for a First Former.
Brian Antonelli ‘18 chose to perform “59,” a more light-hearted poem, and his strong presentation of the poem’s story was rewarded with a victory.
Junior Macdony Charles’s (‘18) rendition of “Dinosaurs in the Hood” was an impactful display that highlighted important racial issues with touches of humor throughout, earning Charles his second distinctive recitation honor in two years.
Overall, the Poetry Fest lived up to its reputation as one of the top school meetings of the year, providing the entire community the opportunity to listen to and enjoy poetry presented by their peers.