Poetry Out Loud Gets Louder


Photo Credit: Serenity Williams | All the Poetry Out Loud contestants take the stage

Jacob Sloane and Angel Burchett

When I bring my partner to my childhood home, it is all bullets and needles and trash bags held at arm’s length…” These are the words from Kayleb Rae Candrill’s poem My Partner Wants Me To Write Them A Poem About Sheryl Crow, the poem that led Woodrow Wilson High School’s very own Hailey Blake to win the WWHS local Poetry Out Loud competition.

Winning Woodrow’s December 5th Poetry Out Loud competition now leads junior Hailey Blake toward competing in the state competition in Charleston, W.Va., in March. Blake did a dramatic and heartfelt retelling of Poem (I lived in the first century of world wars) by Muriel Rukeyser and My Partner Wants Me To Write Them A Poem About Sheryl Crow by Kayleb Rae Candrill. In second place was sophomore, Carson Misch, who energetically recited Ozymandias by Percey Bysshe Shelley and The Properly Scholarly Attitude by Adelaide Crapsey. Misch will act as Blake’s “alternate” if she cannot go to the state competition. In third place was freshman, Caroline Stanley, who recited Love (III) by George Herbert and No, I wasn’t meant to love and be loved by Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib. The judges for the competition were, retired WWHS 11th grade English teacher, Nancy Terlizzi and WWHS 10th grade science teacher, Sam Yurick. The accuracy judge was WWHS senior Preston Matthews, and the prompter was WWHS junior Fiona Bechtel.

Photo Credit: Serenity Williams | Haley Blake recites her second poem, My Partner Wants Me To Write Them A Poem About Sheryl Crow by Kayleb Rae Candrill

Poetry Out Loud is a National Arts Education program that encourages the study of poetry by providing free educational material on their website, poetryoutloud.org. Teachers hold a classroom competition where students must pick a poem, memorize it, and recite it in front of  the class. The teacher then chooses a student to enter into the school competition where they will pick a new poem and recite it for the judges, fellow competitors, prompter and invited guests. Each contestant in the school competition recites two poems. After all contestants recite both of their poems, the judges will add up the final score and pick a winner to go to the state competition where they will repeat the process. Each winner at the state level receives $200 and an all-expenses-paid trip (with an adult chaperone) to Washington, DC, to compete at the National Finals. The state winner’s school or organization will receive $500 for the purchase of poetry materials. A total of $50,000 in awards and school/organizational awards will be given at the Poetry Out Loud National Finals, including a $20,000 award for the National Champion, $10,000 for 2nd place, $5,000 for 3rd place, and $1,000 for anyone who places between 4th and 9th place.

Poetry Out Loud is open for anyone who wants to participate. So if you’re interested in poetry and want to participate, speak to your English teacher and see if you could be the next Poetry Out Loud National Champion.