Poetry Out Loud

Sofia Georgaklis and Nick Eddinger

The high school’s Poetry Out Loud competition took place on Thursday, Feb. 2 during X-block. A group of 15 students recited poems and were judged by teachers Robert Levine, Christina Shen, Sarah Kornell and Peter Sedlak. Senior Makena Binker-Cosen won first place, and Freshmen Justin Chiu and Sarah Tanabe won 2nd and 3rd place respectively.


Voices of of excitement bounce off the walls as audience members begin to file in. The Black Box is packed with baited breath as the 2017 Poetry Out Loud competition begins. The hour long competitive poetry reciting competition was filled with wonderful performances from a variety of students from the high school.This competition determines who moves on the the semi-regional Poetry Out Loud competition in Massachusetts.

Supporters of the competition as well as its participants were quite enthusiastic about reciting poetry. English teacher Rebecca Hayden, who was also the Master of Ceremonies for the event, has been anticipating the competition and talks about what she enjoys seeing during the process.

“I like to see own a poem, and show that they really understand it by how they recite it.” Hayden said. “You can really tell if someone understands what they’re saying, and recites it expressively with the appropriate level of dramatic presentation. To me, it’s really exciting.”

Contestants were also excited to see the school wide competition and its ability to expose recited poetry to the community. Senior Makena Binker-Cosen explained  about how she values spoken poetry.

“I think it’s about the dynamic, the relationship, the meaning of the poems. I think that it’s really nice to listen to poetry as the audience and hearing tons of poems at an event like Poetry out loud,” Binker-Cosen said.  “It’s amazing because you get to learn a ton about different authors, you get to see how it sounds out loud; Words have sound and they go together, they flow together, and you get to appreciate that.”

During the competition, their statements truly reflected the live competition. Each of the contestants were able to recite their poems in a way that made it feel dynamic. A stand out performance from Senior Vishnu Raghavan and his recitation of “Old Ironsides” by Oliver Wendell Holmes seemed to turn the room into a stormy stormy sea, as he described an old and worn battleship, using many varied body movements to fill the space.

Another standout performance came from the Freshman Naomi Mirny who recited the poem “The Death of an Allegory” by Billy Collins. Mirny’s recitation of each stanza came through bright and crisp with excellent voice projection and succinct movements throughout her performance.

As the performance drew to a close, the judges were sent to discuss the first, second, and third place winner, of the competition. The winner of the competition was Makena Binker-Cosen, followed by Freshman Justin Chiu in second and another Freshman, Sarah Tanabe, in third. Though there were only three winners, the entire competition was an opportunity and a treat for those watching. Every one of the contestants were memorable in their own style of recitation.

According to Binker-Cosen, one of the most exciting things about the competition is to see the talent of her fellow classmates.

“In the school wide competition, I’m hoping to see in the same way, the experience the audience would get.” Binker-Cosen said, “To expose myself to more poets, to discover new poetry, to appreciate the talent my classmates have because there are tons of people here that are amazing at doing this. Maybe they discovered it for the first time or they knew from before, and it’s really nice to be able to appreciate that side of things.”


Congratulations to the following performers:

Senior Makena Binker-Cosen – “Virtuosi” Libel Mueller

Freshman Justin Chiu  – “Dear Reader” Rita Mae Reese

Senior Carolyn Fahrner – “Ill-Advised Love Poem” John Yau

Senior Nikki Gerszten – “The Loaf” Paul Muldoon

Freshman Jack Heuberger – “The Bearer” – Hayden Carruth

Senior Ndaru Kartikaningsih – “A Song in the Front Yard” Gwendolyn Brooks

Freshman Milena Kitterman – “One Hundred Love Sonnets: XVII” Pablo Neruda

Freshman Freda Li – “To Myself” Franz Wright

Freshman Anjoli Mathew  – “I Remember, I Remember” Thomas Hood

Senior Ever McMillan – “Backdrop Addresses Cowboy” Margaret Atwood

Freshman Naomi Mirna  – “The Death of Allegory” Billy Collins

Senior Vishnu Raghavan – “Old Ironsides” – Oliver Wendell Holmes

Freshman Betsy Soloway-Aizley – “The Barnacle” A.E. Stallings

Junior SooHan Sung – “At Noon” Reginald Gibbons

Freshman Sarah Tanabe – “Beautiful Wreckage” W.D. Ehrhart