Return to Headlines

Columbia Heights High School ENCORE Students Advance to State Poetry Out Loud Competition

Two Columbia Heights High School (CHHS) ENCORE Poetry Club students have advanced to the state Poetry Out Loud competition – a nationwide poetry recitation contest. Just ten students were chosen from across the state and will compete virtually – CHHS is the only school with more than one student advancing to the state competition.

Junior Sophie Kuether recited "April Love" by Ernest Dowson and "To Have Without Holding" by Marge Piercy. Junior Danquyen Le recited "I Am Learning to Abandon the World" by Linda Pastan and "Shall Earth No More Inspire Thee" by Emily Bronte.

“Performing poetry without the thrill of an in-person audience has certainly been a challenge for the students, but they've nevertheless managed to thrive under the circumstances,” said Chris Polley, who leads the ENCORE Poetry Club. “Poetry Out Loud remains an outstanding way for students to both practice their speaking skills and find solace, comfort, and catharsis in the written word.”

The virtual nature of this year’s competition required students to create and submit video recordings of their recitations instead of performing them live. Students had to pick two poems from the Poetry Out Loud website: one poem had to be published before 1900, and the other had to be 25 lines or fewer. One of the poems could satisfy both requirements.

ENCORE Poetry Club members Freshman Lily Kleinschmit and Sophomores Amara Thompson and Emmanuel Daniel also participated in the contest. A virtual awards ceremony will be held Thursday, March 11 via Zoom hosted by South Central Service Cooperative.