Poetry Out Loud allows students to venture beneath the surface

Claire Hallaway

More stories from Claire Hallaway


Claire Hallaway

Senior Mary Grant practices reading one of her chosen poems aloud in front of the group.

When peering into Poetry Out Loud club classroom, one would immediately hear sophisticated poem recitation, unwavering praise, and the snaps students after listening to someone rehearsing their poem.

The group is getting ready for their first competition, December 5 and 8 during X-period in the Lecture Room. Everyone is invited to attend the competition.

Poetry Out Loud is a student group that meets typically on Thursdays after school. The meetings help students further understand the poems that they choose to read and helps them identify the emotions and tones within the poems. US English teachers Philip de Sa e Silva and Claire Wahmanholm advise the club, giving insights on how a student could approach their chosen poem. 

“Learning to recite poems is still a very individual experience, so students have to spend a fair amount of time outside of meetings reading and thinking about their poems,” de Sa e Silva said.

The students that participate practice reading poems aloud after school and eventually recite the poems from memory.

I have found this to be a really enriching experience, and I encourage people to join it next year

— sophomore Max Moen

Sophomore Max Moen joined the club to become more familiar with poetry, and for the experience of trying something new. After joining the club, he recognized his new interest in the art of poetry.

“One thing that I enjoy the most about poetry club is that I learn all of these new techniques that I hadn’t previously known about. Learning techniques like rhythm and punching, which is when you emphasize certain words, really help bring a poem to life,” Moen said.

In order to bring out techniques such as tone, students in the club reviewed a lists with words like “cavalier,” “glum,” and “whimsical” in order to convey their poems in the way they wish to do so. To meet the criteria of the competition, students initially must memorize one poem that is 25 lines or fewer and a poem created pre-20th century. Students may pick their poems listed on the Poetry Out Loud’s anthology.

“By getting to choose your own poem you get to browse through all these amazing poems from a wide range of talented authors, and then you choose the one that you like the most. I have found this to be a really enriching experience, and I encourage people to join it next year,” Moen said. 

de Sa e Silva encourages students to join the club next year to learn more about poetry and go more in depth to the meanings of many poems, regardless of competition performance.