Poetry Out Loud searching for new stars

Poetry Out Loud, a poetry recital competition between students in Iowa, is hosted every year to promote performing poetry as an art and there is still time to join before November.

Media specialist Abby Hendrickson is a co-adviser to the group “For the first few weeks we watch other poetry performances to understand how powerful the performance aspect of the poetry is,” she said. “Then we work on finding poems. They have to find three: one has to be 25 lines or fewer and another one has to be before the 20th century and the third one is free choice.

“Every single year they have those rules, and they perform the first two and the last is for when they make it to State as a tiebreaker poem,” Hendrickson said.

The team members then practice these poems until the regional competitions start in November. 

The second co-advisor to the group, Kailyn Bettle said the differences between this year and the previous include that “last year they recorded performances. It’s nice they were still able to participate, but performing in front of a camera is much different than performing in front of an audience. It’s much more authentic to have an audience reaction in front of people than a camera. There is a reciprocal nature to it.” 

Bettle said there’s a benefit to the performers who perform in front of an audience in a room too. Participants really get a chance to express themselves. “A Lot of students really like that its a way to express themselves through performance, but there is a comfort in memorization, and I also like that connected to emotions there’s a chance for more upbeat poems. There’s sad poems where you can see what works best for your performance style and play around with it.” 

Right now the group is focusing on publicity and getting people to join. The winner of the 2019 Poetry Out Loud competition, Amya Thornton said, “People get to be bold and confident in a way they can’t be in sports, in a way they can’t be in the classroom. I’m glad I get to be this Black girl that’s doing something positive, and I try to be open-minded, and I try to be humble because without that humility, none of this really matters, and I didn’t get here by myself. I’m glad I get to be a part of this amazing legacy that will live so much longer than I myself will, so just go for it, anyone else who’s even thinking about it, go for it.”

Hendrickson also encourages other to check it out. ”We could use more male participants,” she said. “We are all female right now. More male performers would be awesome, and it’s not too late to join ’til about November.” 

The first competition is a regional competition, and Hendrickson said the Hearst Center for the Arts usually hosts it and participating schools around the Cedar Valley join. The judges select a winner from each school to advance to state competition in Des Moines in march. The winner of the state competition gets a free trip to Washington, D.C., and a cash prize. 

Poetry Out Loud meets in room 213 during Power Hour every Thursday, and information on the competitions such as cost is posted on the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs Website under the art section.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.