At the beginning of each calendar year, thousands of high schools across the nation host Poetry Out Loud (POL) contests, with each winner aiming to qualify for the national competition in April. On January 28th, Norwell High School will host our own POL competition, and send our champion on to the state level contest, where he or she could win $200 and qualify for the national competition in Washington, D.C.
So what is Poetry Out Loud, anyway? The national program focuses on arts education, fostering public speaking skills and confidence through poetry recitation. Competitors recite from memory poems chosen from the official POL anthology, which can be found at the revamped website poetryoutloud.org, and on the new POL App. Each recitation is given a score in five categories: ● Physical Presence
● Voice and Articulation
● Dramatic Appropriateness
● Evidence of Understanding
● Overall Performance
Yes, poetry recitation is subjective, so there is no “correct” way to perform a poem. Rather, competitors consider their poem and develop an appropriate presentation. Also, points are deducted for mistakes such as skipping or substituting words, so competitors must be sure to memorize their poems accurately.
This year, Norwell High’s POL competition, organized by English teacher Kelsey Link, features eight contestants chosen from an after-school audition. Each student recites two poems, the winner and runner up are selected by teacher judges, (perennials are Mrs. Johnston and Dr. Lacy!) and all the finalists receive medals and goodies. The night also features awesome music from the NHS Jazz Combo. Past winners of the NHS POL competition can be found on a plaque outside the Little Theater, where the contest is held. In 2019, Rose Hansen advanced all the way to D.C., where she finished in the top nine of 53 students from all around the U.S. Now that Rose has proven that such an enormous accomplishment is possible, NHS is eager to see what future contestants will have to offer.
Come to the Little Theater on Tuesday, January 28th at 7 PM to support these students (recitation order may be different):