Poetry Out Loud: 2019 edition

Owen Biniecki, Writer

Poetry Out Loud is an annual contest in which students recite poems from a select pool of literature, which changes every year. The competition starts at the classroom level, then to the schoolwide and regional/statewide levels before advancing to the national finals. Each competitor is graded by judges looking for accuracy, performance, and understanding of the recited poem.

Lillian Ascoli (‘21) and Lydia Blake (‘21) have both participated in Poetry Out Loud this year, and were able to speak of the benefits of their experiences so far.

“[Poetry Out Loud] has benefited me by making me more interested in poetry as well as giving me a little more confidence in my public speaking ability, and I think it has done the same for others,” Blake said.

Ascoli expanded on how the competition has made an impact on her, and the skills it helps to build.

“I think Poetry Out Loud gives an opportunity to develop memorization skills and how to use a higher thought process. Both of these skills can be useful later on in life whether it is debating how to fix a problem at work or trying to remember if you wrote something important down. It develops a good base to build on,” Ascoli said.

Ascoli and Blake also discussed the poems they recited at the classroom level of the contest, and the significance it had to them.

“The poem I recited for Poetry Out Loud was After a Rainstorm by Robert Wrigley. This poem has significance to me as I connect with the vivid picture it paints. I care for horses at a barn and often when I go there, it is either raining or snowing,” Ascoli said.

Blake’s poem held a nostalgic value to her.

“I recited Abandoned Farmhouse by Ted Kooser. The poem reminds me of my childhood, I used to live next to a farm and that’s what the poem reminded me of,” Blake said.

They further discussed their aspirations within this year’s competition.

“It’s fun for me to have a classroom competition, but I don’t think I would want to advance further than that,” Blake said.

Ascoli had similar view on the contest.

“I like the friendly competition and any chance, really, to improve my memorization skills, but I would not say I am in it to win it. It is more like a fun occasion to get to know my classmates better…. I am going to advance past the classroom level if I can fit it into my schedule. I really enjoy this competition,” Ascoli said.

Ascoli would even encourage other to participate in Poetry Out Loud, if possible next year.

“I would definitely recommend getting involved in Poetry Out Loud next year. It is so much fun, and an opportunity to embody a poem, and who knows, maybe you will win,” Ascoli said.

The schoolwide competition takes place Feb. 13, so if you’d like to listen to some poetry, make sure to check it out!