When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer
BY WALT WHITMAN
Poetry was never meant to live on the page, but to flow through all of the senses by being read aloud. Bringing the thoughts and emotions of poets to fruition on Appel Farm’s stage this February are the regional competitors for Poetry Out Loud. Six students from South Jersey will each perform three poems of their choice, fueled by their own experiences. This year six very talented students – Samantha Brandt of Cedar Creek High School, Emily Farrell of Woodstown High School, Malikah Stafford of Egg Harbor Township High School, Nevaeh Torres of Atlantic County Institute of Technology, Joel Vazquez-Juarbe of Mainland Regional High School, and Francis Virtucio of Vineland Senior High School – will compete to advance to the New Jersey Poetry Out Loud competition.
Appel Farm could not be more proud to host these young adults this year. Although it is our first time hosting, it feels as though it has been part of our fabric for years. Creating a space for students to creatively learn and share has always been a value of ours at Appel Farm.
One poem that will be presented at our competition is When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer by Walt Whitman, which is posted above. In the poem, Whitman speaks of how “tired and sick” he has become after sitting in a lecture about Astronomy. Most of the short poem is dedicated to systematic analysis of a topic which ultimately wore down Whitman’s passion for learning.
However, when he encounters the stars himself, and looks into the night sky, he has experiential learning experience. Appel Farm is dedicated to moments such as these, when students can wander from the lecture hall and work with material first-hand through the help of the arts integration.
Poetry Out Loud is an encapsulation of what Appel Farm loves about the arts. We are proud to support Poetry Out Loud and it’s wonderful impact on local schools. It is our mission to bring quality arts education experiences to the people of South Jersey and continue to be a place where students can leave the lecture hall to look “up in perfect silence at the stars.”
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