Academic Excellence

Poetry, the Human Voice

Written by Heidi Blythe and Rachel Blythe (Class of 2022)
Photos by Naomi Seng and Thuy Nguyen (Class of 2022)
Video by Thuy Nguyen (Class of 2022)

On January 25th, 2022, students from the girls and boys divisions of DVSS came together to compete in a friendly spar of words. The event took place in Wonderful Words Hall with Dr. Jose Vega, Ms. Rita Yee, Ms. Emma, and Ms. Glenda Preston presiding as the panel of performance judges, as well as Ms. Kravitz and Mr. Brooks Hansard as the accuracy judges.

Poetry Out Loud is an annual poetry recitation competition that takes place during the beginning of the spring semester among high school students. Created through the partnership of the National Endowment for the Arts, Poetry Foundation, and the state and jurisdictional arts agencies, this competition aims to help students develop public speaking skills, along with the ability to use body language, tone, and articulation appropriately in the expression of poetry. 

Among the thirteen contestants— Heidi Blythe (Class of 2022), Rachel Blythe (Class of 2022), Kirsten Chen (Class of 2025), Hannah Cheng (Class of 2027), Abigail Gong (Class of 2023), Justin Gao (Class of 2023), Josette Hanneken (Class of 2027), Yoyo Ji (Class of 2022), Celina Li (Class of 2025), Amy Liu (Class of 2023), Len Ma (Class of 2022), Soong Way Wong (Class of 2023), and Shine Yuan (Class of 2024)— Heidi Blythe and Amy Liu will be advancing to the county level competition in the following weeks.

From filtering through a collection of poems to memorizing and practicing their delivery, Celina Li (Class of 2025) especially enjoyed reciting the two poems that she chose, Piano by D. H. Lawrence and The Heaven of Animals by James L. Dickey, since she connected deeply with them.

Another candidate, Hannah Cheng (Class of 2027), also expressed her gratitude for being able to participate in this year’s Poetry Out Loud competition. She remarked, “I have experienced a range of Chinese poetry in China, so I am excited to learn more about the poetry of the Western world and how it is similar or different from the style of the East. The poems I have encountered so far were very beautiful in their language and meaning.”

Overall, the enthusiasm from this in-person event created an exciting atmosphere for the candidates to give their all at presenting their chosen poems. Many students and teachers alike were also moved by the expressive poetry recitations. Poetry Out Loud is an amazing opportunity for students to explore different types of poetry and learn about all these wonderful poets and the places they occupy in the rich canvas of the world.

Congratulations to the winners, as well as all the students who participated in this year’s Poetry Out Loud competition! Special thanks to the performance and accuracy judges.