By Macy Weddle
Standing there, sweating.
Feeling as still as a rock.
Yearning for applause.
Haiku, free verse, sonnet and other forms of poetry are not just for English class. Some students are turning poetry into a competition. These students don’t see poetry as just an assignment, they see it as a beautiful art form.
“For me, it’s really an expression of what you feel about the world around you, and your interpretation of it,” sophomore poet Hailie Woodring said.
Woodring is one of four students who competed in the Poetry Out Loud competition. Sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts., this competition was held in Indianapolis in a government building next to the Statehouse.
Woodring says that unlike her friends, she has a passion for poetry.
“They think I’m a total weirdo for it, but it’s something that really interests me,” Woodring said.
By placing second out of 188 contestants with her own written poem, she won $50.
“I just gave it my all and just the fact that I’m here and I did it, that’s what I’m proud of myself for doing,” Woodring said. “… I’m just happy I got to share my work with people.”
Woodring and Mackemzie Lipps competed in a division called Poetry Ourselves. In this division the contestants presented their original poetry to judges at the school to qualify for state.
“Its almost lyrical, like it’s music, and I’ve always been one to just come up with songs randomly on the fly,” Woodring said. “It’s fun for me to rhyme and talk about stuff I’m passionate about.”
The winners and their divisions were Woodring, who won the Spoken Word division, Mackemzie Lipps, who won the Written Word division, and Corbin Malchow, who won the Poetry Out Loud division. All three winners are sophomores.
Malchow had to memorize a poem and recite it in front of judges at the state competition.
“Going up on stage and having the lights and all eyes on you without having the piece of paper in front of you is very nerve wracking,” Malchow said.
He placed 13th in the competition as a state finalist. This was his first year participating.
English/Speech teacher Mrs. Julie Fierce made the students aware of this competition.
“I wanted students interested in poetry to have an opportunity to share it in a different way and also compete at the state level,” Fierce said.
The Speech and Debate club helped Fierce get the word out about the competition. She helped judge using the poetry competition rubric.
Fierce, who is in her first year at Delta, has always had a love for poetry and wanted to share with her students the happiness that poetry has given her.
“I have witnessed students come alive in a different way through poetry,” Fierce said, “and it’s sometimes from the voices you least expect.”
One of the voices that Fierce is talking about is Mia Torres. Torres is a freshman poet who has had a love for poetry from a young age. She competed in the school competition but didn’t go any further. Torres loves to read and has a few poets that she believes speak louder volumes than the others.
“I’m a big fan of Edgar Allan Poe. I also think that Rupi Kaur is a really great poet,” Torres said. “Even with one or two stanzas (a poet) can write genuine art and make actual tears form.”
Woodring agrees with this as well, with one if her favorite childhood poets being Shel Silverstein.
“I grew up really loving Shel Silverstein, ‘Where the Sidewalk Ends’ and all of that stuff, so just fun little poems,” Woodring said.
Torres has many people who have inspired her to follow her passion, but she said one of her biggest inspirations is her future self.
These talented poets are able to use their powerful words and leave a distinct impact on everyone who embraces it.
“Poetry is something I use to express myself and it’s almost like my version of a diary entry,” Torres said. “Being able to write poems in order to get my thoughts and feelings out helps me 1, cope with my emotions and 2, create something that I can share with the people around me.”