Sparrow flies high in Poetry Out Loud


Owen Biniecki, Writer

Adsel Sparrow (‘20) is an incredibly talented BFA student who has seen recent success in the 2019 Poetry Out Loud competition. Sparrow has won at the classroom, school, and the regional levels and is soon going to compete at the state-level this coming Monday, March 18. There she plans to debut her performance of the poem “The Light of Stars” by Henry Wadsworth.

Sparrow’s recent regional performance included the poems “Enough” by Suzanne Buffam, and “I Have a Time Machine” by Brenda Shaughnessy. Sparrow gave insight into her reason for choosing said poems.

“‘Enough’ was the one I did for the classroom competition, and I chose that one originally because it talked about trains and I like trains, but then I got more into it and I liked the complexity the character had in the poem and how she’s speaking. ‘I Have a Time Machine’ was one of the ones that my friend had done and she didn’t go through, and I looked at it and I’m like ‘This is really great! I really like it!’ and so I stole it and it worked out really well,” Sparrow said.

Sparrow also revealed her reasoning behind her choice of “The Light of Stars”.

“One of the requirements is that a poem has to be pre-20th century. You have to have one pre-20th century and one less than 25 lines… and it talked about stars, when I was little I really loved stars, like I wanted a star for Christmas and I was really disappointed when I didn’t get one. I really connected with the whimsical part of it, and it’s so different than the angry women in the other poems… it’s a really nice contrast,” Sparrow said.

Sparrow also explained her process of memorizing poetry and gauging the tone she gives in her performances.

“With the first two poems, I had more time to memorize them, but this one, I’ve had about a week. I go through the poem and I read it to myself, and I figure out what lines go together and how I want to portray that. It’s like a character. With memorizing it, what I’ve been doing recently is I’ve had my friend, Kylie, go around and I’ll be doing the poem and she’ll be like ‘no, back up, do it again,’ over and over again until I get it right and then we move on. That helps, and I recite it consistently in classes and everyone’s like ‘do this or do this’ and I’m like ‘yes, I guess’ and it sort of comes together,” Sparrow said.

Though rising to state level leaves Sparrow feeling “excited, but also nervous,” her experiences performing on stage for the competition have not put her in completely unfamiliar territory.

“I’ve been on stage since I was three, so it’s like home-court advantage. Normally I’m dancing and not talking, but I’ve been on stage ever since I was little, and with the drama department I started doing lines, so it’s easier for me than it is for some people because I’m more comfortable up there, which is really great. It works out well for me,” Sparrow said.

While Sparrow is acting on familiar ground, others may not be, and Sparrow’s advice for those interested in the competition is to remember that enjoying the experience is a path to success.

“I would say just do it. I mean, I did it because I wanted the good grade and that was me not really even trying. I think maybe if I’d tried things would’ve worked out a bit differently. Some people I know get very serious, and they get so into it… and I feel like, for me it was a lot more fun going into it. If I win, I win, but if I don’t I got a good experience out of it, and I’m still going so I wouldn’t get so into it. Just have fun, it’s not super serious until you get to nationals,” Sparrow said.

The BFA Mercury wishes Adsel good luck in the state competition on March 18th, and a possible trip to the national competition in D.C. on April 29th!