On Feb. 27, NS junior Cody Howell took first at region in this year’s Poetry Out Loud competition.
Poetry Out Loud is a national competition, held by schools from all around the country that invites students to competitively recite poetry. Howell decided to take up the competition this year, and his efforts have been rewarded.
Starting at the school competition, Howell beat out three other NS students with his two poems: “Diameter” by Michelle Burke, and “The Affliction of Richard by Robert Bridges.” One of his competitors, Mayzie Talbot, graciously accepted defeat because of Howell’s outstanding performance.
“He was freaking amazing. He deserved to win 200%,” said Talbot. “He seemed a little bit nervous, but he still managed to win the judges over with his powerful poems.”
This is Howell’s first year competing in the competition, and his motive is guilt for not doing it the past few years.
“I felt bad for not doing it last year, so I did it this year,” said Howell. “Both of the language arts teachers have asked me to do it.”
After taking first at NS, Howell moved on to the region competition which was held at Gunnison High School. He was faced with only one other competitor, from Wasatch Academy. Beating his competition, Howell took first place at region.
Howell attributes his success in the competition on the emotion he puts into his poetry.
“I think emotions have a lot to do with poetry,” Howell said. “You need to understand the poem and feel the poem, and then you say it with more emotion.”
Because of his victories locally and at region, Howell had the opportunity to attend the state competition for Poetry Out Loud. Region winners from across Utah met on March 14 to compete for a spot on nationals, including Howell.
Competing against six other people and with a third poem in his arsenal, Howell placed second at the state competition. For Howell, this means a few things; first, if the state winner isn’t able to go to nationals, then Howell gets to take his place and compete in Washington D.C.
Also, for taking second at state, NS received two hundred dollars to use in the English department, and Howell was given one hundred dollars to spend on whatever he pleases.
Howell made an excellent run in this year’s competition, but he couldn’t have done it without his effective tactics.
“I either analyzed the poems really well, or I understood and accepted the poems as if I had written them,” Howell said.