Langer Wins Poetry Out Loud

By Fatima Farha

The winner of the annual Poetry Out Loud school competition is senior Lauren Langer for her recitation of the poem  “Larkinesque” by Michael Ryan. The two finalists are seniors Sam Chao (“More Lies”) and Sithara Vincent (“La Figlia Che Piange”).

Langer, a theatre student, said that competing was a great idea. According to her, it was not like memorizing theatre scripts, but she used a lot of the same techniques, such as reciting the lines over and over again.

“It’s such an honor to win Poetry Out Loud, and I’m so glad that I decided to partake in it, and it was a really great experience to recite my poem and hear others,” she said.

Langer is unable to compete at Regionals, so Chao, the second-place winner, will represent Niles West in her place, according to English teacher Tamara Jaffe.  The Regional Final is scheduled to take place on Tuesday, Feb. 21 from 10 to 1:30 at The Arts Center of Oak Park (200 N. Oak Park Ave, Oak Park).

The Poetry Out Loud school competition took place on Valentine’s Day and 60 students participated. The students prepared with their English teachers and chose poems from the Poetry Out Loud website.

“I’ve never been in a competition like this before. It’s something new, and interesting for me too. It’s also fun to watch,” said sophomore Zuzu Antonow.

The competition was judged by English teacher Michele Hettinger, Dr. Elizabeth Kahn, and Michael Bahi, along with the accuracy judges, English teachers Sharon Swanson and Lisa DeNapoli. The judges made sure to choose the students who had the accurate recitations and emotions.

The teachers, as well as the students, find the poetry competition to be a fun and exciting part of the English curriculum.

“There is such an excitement building around poetry recitation, when you hear students recite the poem really well, it gives you goosebumps, it’s just breathtaking, ” Jaffe said.

Students who weren’t even in the competition found great pleasure in listening to the recitations by their fellow classmates.

“Everyone did awesome, and it’s great seeing everyone you know in a different light,” said sophomore Stephanie Knorr.

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Alexandra Daskalopoulos contributed to this article.