Poetry Out Loud at Shorewood

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Marci Johnson recites "Abraham Lincoln Walks at Midnight" by Vachel Lindsay.
Photo by Nuo Chen, Shorewood Yearbook Staff
By Marianne Deal Stephens

Can you recite a poem from memory? Would you do so in front of an audience? If you think of poetry recitation as a relic of 19th century education, you haven't heard of Poetry Out Loud or experienced the power of the young people who participate in the nationwide program. 

In the fall of 2014, Shorewood Sophomore English classes (and at least one junior) took part in the Poetry Out Loud National Recitation Contest. Each student chose a poem from from the Poetry Out Loud online anthology, memorized it, and recited it to her or his class.

Students voted according to the Poetry Out Loud evaluation categories: physical presence; voice and articulation; dramatic appropriateness; level of complexity; evidence of understanding; and overall performance.

Students selected by their classes advanced to the Preliminary Round and recited their poems in the Shorewood Black Box Theater on December 3 before an audience of parents, friends and staff. Three staff volunteers served as judges and selected 10 students for the December 8 Shorewood Final Round: 
  1. Hannah Van Inwegen, "It Couldn't Be Done" by Edgar Albert Guest
  2. Zi Yen Chen, "After working 60 hours again for what reason" by Bob Hicok
  3. Francisca Ritoch, "And Soul" by Eavan Boland
  4. Marcianna Johnson, "Abraham Lincoln Walks at Midnight" by Vachel Lindsay
  5. Joe Jang, "The Kiss" by Robert Graves
  6. Leah Yemane, "Dream Song 14" by John Berryman
  7. Jacob Delaney, "Invictus" by William Ernest Henley
  8. Gillian Lauter, "Ways of Talking" by Ha Jin
  9. Natalie Keene, "A Boat Beneath a Sunny Sky" by Lewis Carroll
  10. Loren Stephens, "Monet Refuses the Operation" by Lisel Mueller 

At the end of another evening of poetry recitation in the Black Box Theater, three judges named Francisca Ritoch the Shorewood winner, and Hannah Van Inwegen as the runner-up.

Francisca will represent Shorewood at the Puget Sound Regional Competition in Tacoma on February 7. Regional winners will advance to the state competition on March 7 and the state winner will then compete in Washington, D.C. in May. Francisca Ritoch was also Shorewood's winner last year, and advanced to the state competition, where she placed second in the Spring of 2014. 

To learn more:
Arts Washington, State Sponsor of Poetry Out Loud includes selected video clips of students in the state finals.


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