Wolfe represents at State

Eight poets compete for shot at Poetry Out Loud 20K

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Wolfe represents at State

Mikayla Schwartz, Feature editor

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Alicia Wolfe (20) took the first place spot in the Poetry Out Loud contest held at the Eaton Public Library on Tuesday Feb. 5 with her dramatic recitation of “Friendship After Love” by Ella Wheeler Wilcox. Wolf in her first year of competition, beat out the eight other brave poets reciting for a chance to compete at state including Junior Everett Slaughenhaupt and senior Janae Jarnigan who took the second and third spots. The first place allowed her to go to State on February 27 to compete for a National spot, where she could potentially compete in Washington D.C. for a prize of $20,000.

Professional poet Lisa Zimmerman who opened the night has spent her life writing and reciting poetry. “My father knew some poems by heart and would recite them. Just hearing the cadence of language was part of why I started,” Zimmerman said, “I started writing poems in my junior year of high school because I loved the brevity and the shortness. I would get a prompt to spill something out.”

Zimmerman who instructs poetry at UNC also said, “I fell in love with the language and the sound of words clashing together and the music of the lines. I feel that poetry is like bread. It belongs to everyone. It is marginalized in our culture, but it is in the heart of all of us.”

Although her poetry helped inspire the contestants, her poems were not the main focus of the night. Fourteen students participated in the event, reciting or reading poetry in the coffee house environment created at Eaton Public Library. This is the ninth year for Poetry Out Loud at EHS, and the fifth year for the Coffee House.

The judge panel consisted of English teachers Jaryn Guerra, and Kylie Griffin, who joined event organizers and fellow English teachers Deirdre White and Emily Sorenson. Drama instructor Kendra Hixon has been a judge every year for the past nine years of the event, and science teacher Erin Pierson joined for her first year as the accuracy judge. They judged the students on many different categories including voice, presence and overall interpretation.

As part of the fun between the judged poets, Evan Messmer and Everett Slagenpaht partnered up to recite a Palindrome poem that when read from top to bottom has the opposite meaning when read from bottom to top. Wolfe was very nervous while she headed to state. “It was nothing like I was expecting because here it is just a small competition, but, at state, there were so many people competing on a professional level” Wolfe said. In the first round, Wolfe recited the poem “Friendship After Love”, and it won her a spot in the second round. In her second round, she recited “The Last Performance”. Despite all of Wolfe’s hard work in the first and second round Wolfe fell short of the third round.