Poetry Out Loud

Either with fumbling hands or a confident step, students recite poems with a passion as they compete.

Poetry Out Loud is a national poem recitation competition that begins at a school level. Students are chosen from each school to go to the state and then possibly national level, by memorizing and performing a poem.

Senior Kiley Van Ryn is a contestant that, after the competition on Thursday, October 27, moved on to be one of the top three contenders in the school. This is her first year competing in the competition and hopes this experience will make her love of poetry grow.

“I wanted to do Poetry Out Loud because, well, I love poetry,” Van Ryn said. “I’m very passionate about it, I had never been able to have the chance to recite poetry before and thought I would take this opportunity to try this.”

This competition was a challenge for Van Ryn, a more introverted person off the stage, but her passion for poetry pushed her to compete. Competing takes a love of poetry and a comfortableness on the stage, something that Van Ryn has both of.

“Poetry Out Loud’s purpose is to bring students to love and understand poetry even more and to challenge themselves to memorize different poems,” Van Ryn said. “It requires great public speaking skills and this can be a wonderful way for more introverted students to practice presenting in front of an audience.”

Even though she was nervous, as soon as her feet hit the stage, she said that her fear seemed to evaporate. Trying to ignore the audience, she performed her poem, turning out to be one of the best performers in the school.

“Presenting makes me quite nervous actually, until I’m up on the stage in front of the mic. I get very nervous and antsy leading up to it and then when I get on the stage, it’s as is the nervousness and anxiety just flushes out of me,” Van Ryn said. “To help me remain that way while reciting I look straight ahead of me and upwards, because seeing the audience can throw me off.”

There are many aspects that go into performing for Poetry Out Loud, many of the contestants practicing them until they are perfect.

“Precise articulation, appropriate emotions and gestures throughout the recitation, and an accurate understanding of the poem all makes for a great Poetry Out Loud performance,” Van Ryn said. “Honestly, any Poetry Out Loud performance is amazing. I’ve never really had a favorite since most of the ones I’ve seen are all so good.”