Poetry Out Loud
On Monday, February 10, students and faculty attended the school finals for the Poetry Out Loud competition, a national poetry recitation contest. Emma S. ‘23, Kaira S. ‘22, Parker A. ‘21, and Joss G. ‘20 performed two poems each to determine who would advance to the Utah regional competition. Joss was victorious, and he will represent Waterford School with a chance to be the Utah state representative at the national competition in Washington D.C., where a $20,000 college scholarship will be awarded to the winner. Joss recited W. E. B. DuBois’s “The Song of the Smoke” and Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s “Kublai Khan,” and the competition was fierce, as all of the competitors gave compelling and powerful performances. Our distinguished panel of judges was thoroughly impressed with our competitors’ performances, and our audience of students and faculty members left the assembly amazed by the talents of our students.
Poetry recitation gives students the chance to experience the complexity and wonder of poetry in unique ways. They offer captivating performances and reflect their sensitivity to nuanced emotions and experiences. Kaira, our finalist from Class X, reports that “memorization is one thing, but performing, sharing with an audience is another. It was euphoric.” Owen H., a member of Class IX, said, “It was cool to be able to choose a poem and find one that fit my style.” The response of our students as audience members, whether it be in individual class competitions or in the Concert Hall for the finals, attests to the way our community values these efforts. Zach D., a member of Class XI, called the performances “awe inspiring.”
We are proud of our Upper School students for their hard work throughout this season of Poetry Out Loud! We would also like to thank our judges this year: Ann Cannon, award-winning Young Adult author and columnist for the Salt Lake Tribune; Ashley Finley, Performance poet, teacher, and community activist; and David Kranes, University of Utah professor of English emeritus, novelist and playwright.
Poetry Out Loud is quickly becoming a valued tradition at Waterford, and we wish Joss luck heading into the next round of competition!
[Quotes from judges: Ann Cannon “I was extremely impressed with the all the participants’ performance.” David Kranes “I found it to be an outstanding developmental program.”]