When Mrs. Oles announced my name, I winced and with nerves running through out my entire body, I stood up from my seat and began the long dreaded walk up to the auditorium platform. I could sense all 200 eyes on me as I stood there alone. Silently, I prayed to myself that I would not forget a word, a line, a stanza. My stomach jolted as I took a deep inhale in an attempt to calm myself before opening my mouth. Then, before I knew it, I was finished and already on my way back to the comfort of my seat in the crowd.
My feelings towards Poetry Out Loud are somewhat ambiguous. To be honest, I've never really been very interested in poetry so I haven't quite put a 100% effort into it in the past. Last year, when I had to read my poem in the second round in the auditorium, I had never been more nervous. I have pretty bad stage fright so I didn't think I was going to be able to do it. When I was up on that stage, my heart was beating 30 miles per hour and I kept thinking that I was going to forget the words. Thankfully, I didn't forget any words and I got through it alive. Granted, I would never do it again but I'm still glad that I faced my fear and did it once. This is why I like Poetry Out Loud, because it forces kids like me to step outside their comfort zone and try something that doesn't necessarily make them feel at ease. However, I am not a fan of this nationwide contest at the same time. Even though it helped me along the road of getting over my stage fright, I still find it unnecessary to require every single student to memorize a poem and recite it in front of their class. I believe that there is a good chunk of students at our school that would voluntarily sign up for this contest, so I think students should only have to do it if they so choose.
Recitation and performance are major new trends in poetry. There has been a recent resurgence of poetry as an oral art form, as seen in the slam poetry movement and the immense popularity of hip-hop music. Poetry Out Loud builds on that momentum by inviting the dynamic aspects of slam poetry, spoken word, and theater into the English class.
Poetry Out Loud