Poetry Out Loud 2020


Poetry Out Loud Participants (L to R) Front Row: Caleb Hagner, Ryanne McCann, Cheyenne Isaia, Marlena Malloch, Emily Bowen Back Row: Reid Barrett, Emily Hughes, Fahim Ahmed, Wilton Geissenhainer, Olivia Freeman, Jenna Tschida, Keira Amirault (Not Pictured: Alyssa Sangillo)

Joey Stearns, Staff Writer

The person before you goes up to recite their poem and you begin to realize you’re up next. The row of people to the right of you  tapping their feet heightens your anxiety. Some people stare glossy-eyed as they marinate in the anxious pool of excitement. You begin to worry, so you mouth your poem one last time. Reciting every word correctly, you begin to feel confident. You hear your name. The emcee is reading your bio. Standing up you walk to the front, the anxiety rises. You recite your poem, terrified of mistakes. Time slows down as you drift into your poem, engulfed by the performance.

On January 15th, the 2020 Poetry Out Loud competition was held at GHS. It was held in the Information Center after school at 7 p.m.. The point of the competition is to recite a poem of your choosing in front of a panel of judges. The poems are judged on accuracy, presentation and interpretation. Fahim Ahmed earned first place in the competition. He will advance to the regional semi-finals at the Currier Museum of Art on Thursday, March 5th at 6 p.m..  Second place was a two-way tie between Emily Hughes and Caleb Hagner.

Cheyenne Isaia, a competitor in Poetry Out Loud, said “It was pretty easy to memorize it all, but it was pretty stressful.” Despite the stress, Cheyenne “felt really good about [her performance].”

Poetry Out Loud starts in the students’ English classrooms. Many teachers require their students to take part in a preliminary, classroom Poetry Out Loud competition. Winners from the classroom rounds then progress to a school wide elimination round. Finalists from this round then progress to the final round which is presented to the community.  This year there were thirteen students competing. Participants presented their first poem and then contestants were narrowed to five for a second poem.

Alyssa Sangillo also competed on Thursday and said, “looking back on it, it’s a good thing I did it. Poetry Out Loud was an overall positive experience which pushed me out of my comfort zone.”