Academic Excellence

2021 Poetry Out Loud County and State Level Competition

Written by Amy Liu (Class of 2023)

After the school Poetry Out Loud competition on Thursday, January 28, Heidi Blythe (Class of 2022) and I advanced to the county level competition. Due to the pandemic, this year’s Mendocino County contest took place in the form of recitation video submissions.

Two weeks later, news came that I had won the Mendocino County Poetry Out Loud competition. I was surprised and honored to have this opportunity to represent not only Developing Virtue Secondary School but also Mendocino County in the state-level competition, and began preparing my video submissions.

During this period, the county coordinator, Ms. Blake More, guided me through the process and continuously gave me helpful feedback, so I would like to express my sincere thanks to her here. In the end, I submitted recitation videos of three poems: “mulberry fields,” by Lucille Clifton, “Oh could I raise the darken’d veil,” by Nathaniel Hawthorne, and “Let It Be Forgotten,” by Sara Teasdale.

This year, along with the Poetry Out Loud competition, which highlighted poem recitation and performance, was the Poetry Ourselves creative writing contest, an opportunity for county champions to further explore poetry through the submission of original works. In English class, we had recently finished reading The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula K. Le Guin, and, inspired by Daoist ideas from the book, as well as Buddhist principles and current events, I wrote “The Other Half,” a poem discussing distinction, prejudice, and harmony.

On March 15, the California State winners were announced. Although I did not win in the poem recitation competition, I became the Poetry Ourselves runner-up with “The Other Half.

Through interpreting and reciting works of others and through exploring the power of poems in writing one myself, I was able to learn more about this creative and special form of expression. I am also humbled and grateful for this chance to express some of the things I learned in DVGS and CTTB.

Again, I would like to thank Jin Jr Shi, Ms. More, and Ms. Applebee, my English teacher, for their guidance and support.