Poetry Out Loud – American Graduate Champions


We are the music makers, and we are the
dreamers of dreams. Wandering by lone sea breakers, and sitting by
desolate streams. – Started Poetry Out
Loud a number of years before I even heard about it. Robert Pinsky made
a comment one time that the poem doesn’t
exist on the page. It exists in the voice. – Yet we are the
movers and shakers of the world forever, it seems. With wonderful,
deathless ditties, we build up the
world’s great cities, and out of a fabulous story, we fashion an empire’s glory. – Poetry Out Loud is a chance
for students to find a poem that can mean a lot to them. And I think people can
incorporate language into their lives by finding something
that’s meaningful for them and memorizing it. – Well, I think the biggest
thing that we can learn from poetry is the
fact that each poem is just words on a page
until someone interprets it. So by taking someone else’s
piece and making it your own, you are, in essence,
collaborating with the poet, and you are understand
and processing how their emotions felt when
they were writing the piece. And then you’re sharing that
emotion with other people. So, in essence, you are sharing someone else’s
interpretation of humanity and of life, and
making it your own. And so it’s just a way
to broaden your exposure and your view on the world because you’re seeing
people’s emotions from different lights and
different perspectives, in ways that you’ve
probably never even really thought of them. – I think it helps
students realize that their poem that
they have chosen, they can breathe their
own life into it. They can interpret it
however they want to. I think that freedom of
doing that in literature is very important. Sometimes I have kids
in here with math and they have to have
that right answer, and so poetry sometimes
can be difficult for them because it’s their
interpretation. It’s their right answer. And so I think they
have that freedom, knowing that they
have that freedom in literature to do that. It also helps with
the emotional piece that they can understand
that whatever poem that another student
is doing in class, that’s their
interpretation of it and it’s an acceptance of that. Even though someone else in
class might do another poem differently, that’s
perfectly fine. – One of the biggest
things I learned from this experience and
the exposure to poetry is learning how to
share your emotions with other people. Because when you are
performing a piece, if you put no emotion into it, people aren’t going
to want to listen. People aren’t going
to feel anything. And I feel like in
our society today, it’s very nerveracking for
a lot of people to share how they’re feeling with others and so poetry gives you kind
of a written excuse, I guess? A written way for
you to interpret and share how you feel,
maybe in a different light or a different way that you
feel more comfortable doing. One man with a dream at
pleasure shall go forth and conquer a crown. And three with a
new song’s measure can trample an empire down. – The competition
for Poetry Out Loud begins with the classroom where students get to recite
in front of their peers. The teacher scores
it against criteria that the Poetry Out Loud
organization has provided. And the students
know what these are. That student ends up moving on
to the building competition, and then whoever the person
wins the building level goes on to the regional level, which has happened at DSD
or the Richland Library. And that winner moves
on to the state level. – The poem I chose is called
Ode by Arthur O’Shaughnessy. And the reason that I chose
it is it’s just something that spoke to me. It is, like the title
says, an ode to the arts and to music, and to the
power that human beings have with their creative aspect. For each age is a
dream that is dying, or one that is coming to birth.

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