Poetry Out Loud Photostory

Olivia Sothoron and Jessica Smith

Pictured: Christian Due reciting “The Moon Now Rises” by Henry David Thoreau and “Quite Frankly” by Mark Halliday. Thursday, November 9th was a very busy day for the OHS auditorium. Mrs. Julia Showalter, the Creative Writing, AP Lit, and English 11 teacher, hosted the second annual Poetry Out Loud competition. Students at OHS had the opportunity to participate in the competition, which required the memorization of two poems, one that was written before the 20th century, and one that contained 25 lines or fewer.
Pictured: Alyson Flora reciting “Holy Sonnets: Death Be Not Proud” by John Donne and “Ecology” by Jack Collon.There were ten OHS students who elected to participate in the school-wide competition. Mrs. Showalter encouraged all of her students to participate.
Pictured: Cece George reciting “A Poison Tree” by William Blake and “America” by Claude McKay. Contestants were judged based off of Physical Presence, Voice and Articulation, Dramatic Appropriateness, Evidence of Understanding, and Overall Performance combined with accuracy of the poem (if they messed up a word or forgot a line, the judges deducted points from their scores).
Pictured: Megan Schulien reciting “Life and a Love” by Robert Browning and “Diameter” by Michelle Y. Burke. The teacher judges included Ms. Renate Owen, Ms. Lauren Graziano, Ms. Donna Clabaugh, Mrs. Carrie Mehl, and special guest Mary Adelle. Many of the judges had volunteered to participate last year. Ms. Clabaugh, Ms. Owen, Ms. Graziano, and Dr. Schoder had judged last year, so Mrs. Showalter asked if they would do it again.
Pictured: Sage Wann reciting “Let the Light Enter” by Frances Ellen Watkins Harper and “Then and Now” by Tom Clark. The contestants included, Marcus Pearson, Allyson Flora, Gabby McCoy, Cece George, Christian Due, Megan Schulien, Anunya Patri, Natalie Flynn, Sage Wann, and Joshua Millikan.

Pictured: Marcus Pearson. Pearson memorized “The Man He Killed” by Thomas Hardy, and “To Cupid” by Joanna Baillie. “[I chose] ‘To Cupid’ [because it] was short (Although ironically it was the one I messed up) and I needed a new pre-20th century poem. ‘The Man He Killed’ was poignant and melodic to recite, and was pleasant to memorize.”
Pictured: Natalie Flynn reciting “April Midnight” by Arthur Symons and “Their Story” by Stuart Dybek. Pearson only needed a week to memorize his two poems. “[Some of the memorization techniques I used were] Procrastination, flashcards, constant repetition.” Pearson is enrolled in Mrs. Showalter’s Creative Writing class fifth block. He was encouraged to sign up for the competition, and believed that it sounded like it would be fun. He stated, “[I was] a bit [nervous], but I’ve made a bigger fool of myself in front of larger crowds.”

Pictured: Mary Adelle reciting some of her own pieces of poetry. Mrs. Showalter surprised the contestants with a guest performance by Mary Adelle. Adelle, a published poet, was invited by Mrs. Showalter to the Poetry Out Loud competition, and she read from her self published anthologies. She writes a column for Baltimore Style. She also owns a Feminist Publication company called “Babe Press,” and she is a co-host on a podcast called “Give Me the Deets.”
Pictured: Gabby McCoy reciting “The Wish, By a Young Lady” by Laetitia Pilkington and “Domestic Situation” by Ernest Hilbert.” There were awards given to the top three performers. Gabby McCoy placed first, which means that she is the only one who will advancie to the POL competition at the Regional level. As McCoy prepares for the next competition, Mrs. Showalter advises her to maybe choose a different poem because the two poems she has selected at this moment both contain feminist themes, and Mrs. Showalter feels it would be better to diversify her selection.
Pictured: All of the competitors, holding up their certificates of recognition. Aside from first place, awards were also given to Alyson Flora, who placed second, and Joshua Millikan placed third.
Pictured: Joshua Miliken recites “My Prime of Youth is but a Frost of Cares” by Chidiock Tichborne and “Much Madness is Divided Sense” by Emily Dickinson. Mrs. Showalter wishes to continue the annual tradition of the school-wide Poetry Out Loud competition. It will likely be held around the month of November again. If you are interested, you can see Mrs. Showalter for information.
Pictured: Anynua Patri reciting “The Arrow and the Song” by Henry Wadworth Longfellow and “Keeping Things Old” by Mark Strand. Poetry Out Loud is an excellent way to introduce students to poems that they may not stumble across in their high school English classes. It requires students to choose two poems that speak to them, so that they are motivated to memorize them. Even if you do not wish to compete, it is still very interesting to watch the different contestants and watch the techniques to bring the poem to life.