Poetry Out Loud Comes To East Lyme

Students compete in poetry competition

By Sana Gupta

For many, it is already difficult to speak in front of an audience. However, East Lyme High School students will soon take public speaking to the next level by participating in the national Poetry Out Loud competition for the first time.
Poetry Out Loud is an oratory presentation competition brought to ELHS by our library media specialist Kathleen Sasso, who is working with English teacher Jeannine Barber to organize the event here in East  Lyme.

The program “allows students to gain confidence while performing and exposes students to poems that they would have never even read,” according to Ms. Sasso.
Interested students attended a meeting on Dec. 4 and on Dec. 20. There was a workshop for participants to learn first hand from “teacher artists” to improve their poetry reciting skills such as physical presence, voice and articulation, dramatic appropriateness, and evidence of understanding.

“It sounds intimidating, but I think that with help from the teachers who are dedicated to this, it will be a little bit easier,” said sophomore Rain Fulcher, who plans to participate in the competition.

The poems will be presented at a school competition on Jan. 16, and one winner will move on to the state competition. From there, the state winner will go to the national  competition.

Students must choose poems from an approved list of poems from the Poetry Out Loud website. There are over 900 poems available, according to the website, which cater to the different interests of the participants. For this reason, all students are encouraged to  participate.

“Students say that they didn’t think they were a ‘poetry type of a person’, maybe they thought they were a football guy or a math kid, but they find that poetry within them… They all can use language as a powerful tool,” said Ms. Barber.

“I hope that I can meet other people in the poetry community who also enjoy poetry as much as I do, and I want to get my voice out there and gain experience,” said Fulcher.

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