High school English classes learn about Poetry Out Loud contest

During English classes, St. Patrick students in ninth through twelfth grade attended a presentation about a nationwide contest, Poetry Out Loud. During this presentation, a representative from Poetry Out Loud came to explain the contest to the students, and the skills necessary for effective poetry recitation.

Poetry Out Loud is an annual contest where high school students compete at the class, school, regional, state, and finally, national levels. For this contest, students are asked to memorize three poems and recite them in front of judges who will score them on their performance. During the presentation today, the representative explained to students the several aspects that are necessary for contestants to effectively recite a poem. He explained that first of all, students should choose a poem that they believe “fits” with their voice. Additionally, contestants should sound natural reading the poems they choose, as if they were the authors. If they make their voices sound extremely exaggerated or showy, they will not score as high.

As a part of the presentation, the students were shown videos of the performances of previous winners of the national Poetry Out Loud contest. As per what the presenter mentioned, the first place winner of the contest sounded completely natural reading her poem, and read it as if she was telling a story. She combined stanzas and lines perfectly, causing her reading to flow and connect.

St. Patrick students were strongly encouraged to participate in the Poetry Out Loud contest, as monetary prizes will be awarded to winners and their schools. St. Patrick will be holding their school-wide contest in either December or January of this school year.

Story by Jeanne Torp