Students compete in Poetry Out Loud

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Nicole Schroeder

Around 15 students spent their second hour in the PAC this morning, reciting poems for RBHS’ school-wide Poetry Out Loud competition and the chance to advance to the regional competition taking place in February.
Kathryn Fishman-Weaver, sponsor of Folio club and coordinator for the school competition said students work very hard to prepare the two poems, spending time beforehand to memorize and understand each piece they perform.
“There’s several steps to preparing. One, you have to pick your poems, so there’s sort of this relationship between the reader/performer and the text, so you have to find the poem that’s a good match,” Fishman-Weaver said. “Then, you have to comb through the poems, in a way to do a different level of analysis than you would if you were writing an essay, because you’re performing it.[TS_VCSC_Image_IHover ihover_image=”269785″ ihover_style=”circle” ihover_circle_effect=”effect17″ ihover_circle_direction=”left_to_right” ihover_circle_scale=”scale_up” ihover_circle_direction2=”top_to_bottom” ihover_circle_direction3=”from_left_and_right” ihover_circle_direction4=”left_to_right” ihover_square_effect=”effect1″ ihover_square_direction=”from_left_and_right” ihover_square_direction2=”left_and_right” ihover_square_direction3=”top_to_bottom” ihover_square_direction4=”left_to_right” ihover_square_direction5=”left_to_right” ihover_square_scale=”scale_up” ihover_colored=”false” ihover_square_border=”8″ ihover_square_color=”#ffffff” ihover_circle_border=”10″ ihover_circle_color1=”#ecab18″ ihover_circle_color2=”#1ad280″ overlay_handle_show=”true” overlay_handle_color=”#0094ff” ihover_event=”none” ihover_show_title=”true” ihover_video_related=”false” ihover_video_auto=”true” tooltip_html=”false” tooltipster_offsetx=”0″ tooltipster_offsety=”0″ margin_top=”20″ margin_bottom=”20″ ihover_title=”Cathro takes first” ihover_content=”Poetry Out Loud runner-up, senior Evann Twitchell, and winner, junior Neil Cathro, stand with event coordinator Kathryn Fishman-Weaver. Cathro will go on to compete in the regional competition this February. photo by Nicole Schroeder”]Though Junior Michael Pennella competed in Poetry Out Loud last year as a sophomore, he said it was still difficult to choose the right poems and interpret them correctly during his recitation.
“The hardest part was finding the piece. I can’t tell you how many times I just clicked on the ‘Random Poem’ button on the Poetry Out Loud website,” Pennella said. “After finding the poems…I had friends and my parents watch me until I felt satisfied with my interpretation of the piece. After that, it was just a matter of calming my nerves and not hyperventilating during the actual competition.”
After two rounds of competition, judges named senior Evann Twitchell as the first runner-up and Junior Neil Cathro winner of the school competition for his performances of “More Lies” by Karin Gottshall and “Rondeau” by Leigh Hunt. He said he chose these poems because of the prose-type style in which they were written.
“I picked the ones that I picked because they’re more like a story and they’re more like a monologue from a play,” Cathro said. “Some people did poems that had a lot of metaphors and were just like traditional poetry, but I’m not good at that so I picked ones that felt more like someone telling you a story instead of me reading a poem.”
Before the regional competition, Cathro will have to pick a third poem to recite before the judges along with the two he performed today. Cathro said although he was nervous for today’s recitation, he is excited for the regional competition in the coming weeks.
“I was nervous that I would forget the words because a big part of the competition is you miss points if you get any of the words wrong,” Cathro said. “It’s pretty exciting. It was just a class assignment and no one really cared about it. I didn’t expect to win because it was just class, so it’s cool.”
Cathro will continue on to the regional competition where he will recite three poems for the chance to move on to the state competition in March. The competition will take place at Columbia Public Library on Feb. 18.
By Nicole Schroeder