Poetry Recitation Competition Draws Student Performers

By Jordan Blackburn

The Marin County Poetry Out Loud contest was held at the Mill Valley Public Library on February 16. Junior Shayna Warner of Marin School of the Arts won and will be advancing to the statewide competition in Sacramento; Freshman Alexandra Deane, winner of Tam’s school-wide competition, did not place.

Deane won Tam’s annual Poetry Out Loud contest during an optional tutorial assembly in Caldwell theater on Wednesday, January 30. Poetry Out Loud, a nationwide competition in which students memorize a poem and then give a live, dramatic reading of it, was launched in 2006, and had over 365,000 student competitors in 2011-12 according to their website.

“Winning felt amazing,” said Deane. “Everyone there performed so well, so I was really surprised.”

In second place was senior Zach Knight. “I wasn’t really expecting to make it that far,” Knight said. “It was definitely fun. [My style] was different from [Deane’s].”

Sophomore Tessa King also competed. “It was such a great competition this year, all the performers were amazing and it was so much fun to perform in and watch because of that,” she said.

In previous years, the competition has been organized by Independent Study teacher and former district poet Claire Blotter. As district poet, Blotter taught poetry at all the district schools. This year she handed the reigns to English teacher Kate Lorch. While Lorch had previously assisted Blotter with the logistics of the competition, this was her first year “spearheading” the process.

“I thought it went really well,” Lorch said. “Especially in the leadup, because every freshman prepared and read a poem in their English class.”

While many English classes hold in-class competitions to decide who will advance to the school-wide competition, students can also choose to participate of their own volition. “From the minute I heard about the the contest I knew I wanted to participate,” said Deane. “My middle school held a similar contest and I did it every year. Overall It was a great experience,” she said.