Poetry Out Loud

Congratulations to senior Rhiannon Kelly for being named Foothill's best poetry reciter at the annual Poetry Out Loud competition hosted by the library staff.

Rhiannon recited Black Boys Play the Classics by Toi Derricotte.

"I picked this poem because it was closest to the poetry that I enjoy by myself, which is slam poetry," Rhiannon explained. "I thought that I could do it justice the best because I kind of knew how I thought it should sound."

Poetry Out Loud is a national recitation contest that starts at the school level. The contest encourages students to learn about great poetry through memorization and recitation. It helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence and learn about their literary heritage. There are two categories -- pre-20th-century poems and post-20th-century poems.

"This is my first foray into poetry," Rhiannon said. "I'm mostly into creative writing. I like poetry because it is the most precise of the writing fields. It takes a lot of time craft a poem, and even then, people might not understand what you're talking about. It's all about the economy of words."

Rhiannon advanced to the regional competition at the Firehouse Arts Center in Pleasanton on Feb. 11. She recited Black Boys Play the Classics and Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll. Rhiannon competed against four other Alameda County students, but did not place high enough to advance to the state competition. She won $25 for participating.

Rhiannon plans to pursue creative writing and aspires to be a high school English teacher.

"I've won multiple contests throughout high school and recently sold a short story to publishers," Rhiannon said. "Though Foothill's Poetry Out Loud competition was quite small and very last-minute, it was a pleasure to hear the regional competitors' passionate recitations; they had worked for months on internalization, interpretation, and delivery. I support any program that promotes the arts in schools."

Freshman Jordan Singh came in second in the Foothill competition. He's already signed up to compete in next year's event.

Posted Saturday, Feb. 11, 2012