Speaking poetry: needed or no

Ben Stoll, Editor


It’s that time of year again, when students all around the country gather in their individual schools and begin putting poems to memory for Poetry Out Loud in hope of making it to the finals. But what is Poetry Out Loud? Why do students practice putting poems to heart?

Poetry Out Loud is country wide competition in which students choose poetry from an existing pool of poems found on the competition’s official website: Poetryoutloud.org. The goal of the competition is to recall and recite a selected poem from memory in front of a panel of judges, then to rise up the levels of the competition: school, states, then finally regionals.

The competition itself is very easy to implement inside of the school year as well. According to the official Poetry Out Loud website, competition takes place in the Fall and early Winter.

The program itself does not actually need to be taught in a full class period and can be completed in 2 to 3 weeks at most. However, there is an opportunity to make Poetry Out Loud part of a larger poetry class or classes.  

This is Poetry Out Loud in a nutshell, now what of the participants of the competition? What are their thoughts about the subject? What perks or benefits do they see from competitively reciting poetry?

Sophomores at BFA that are in the Accelerated Foundation Literature class, as well as a few seniors, all participate in the Poetry Out Loud competition, as a small unit. There is debate whether having this in class will teach students anything.  

Will Harvey, a Sophomore participating in Poetry Out Loud, felt that he had the answer to this question.

  “I really like poetry, I consider myself a poet. I’ve wanted to speak my poetry, this provides a good chance to do so,” Harvey (‘18) said. Harvey, who had done the poem, The Birds, by Jamaal May, is a huge fan of the competition. He believes that the competition as a whole has a lot of benefits to bring.

“It’s really enhances your literacy knowledge and your ability to perform in front of other people.” Harvey said. But Harvey’s opinion on the matter is not everyone that shares this opinion.

Some people believe that it is a waste of time, and that that the competition should not be part of school’s english program. One of these people is John Thompson.

“I don’t really like poetry out loud, I don’t see any benefits reciting poetry.” Thompson (‘18) said.  Many people share the opinion of Thompson, saying that Poetry out loud is something that is not needed in the curriculum.

Then there are also just as many people that share Harvey’s point of view. They think that it’s a fantastic way to how to read and write in a creative new way, as well as a way to express yourself.

BFA has just had their Poetry Out Loud competition for the Accelerated Foundations Literature class in the month of December, and a winner has yet to be picked.