Pinewood Hosts Poetry Out Loud Competition

Violet Negrette, News Writer

Pinewood is offering the Poetry Out Loud competition for students to compete to express their love for poetry for its second year in a row. At the end of this class, students memorize and recite a poem of their choice on stage.

This year, Emma Hwang, an eleventh grader, took first place in Pinewood’s Poetry Out Loud competition, while ninth grader Lara Parikh took second and ninth grader Caitlin Yamaguchi took third. This is Hwang’s second win; last year she won the competition for both Pinewood and Santa Clara County.

“Congratulations to these three students for sharing poetry with us and bringing the impact, voice, and meaning of these poems to life in their recitations,” said English and History teacher Holly Coty, who runs the Pinewood and Santa Clara chapters of the Poetry Out Loud contest. “We will be cheering you on as you represent Pinewood at the Santa Clara County final.”

English teacher Sabrina Strand, who judged the competition in 2021 said that Poetry Out Loud is a neat concept: students recite a poem in front of a panel of judges and are judged by a strict rubric that determines whether or not a student fully embodies the poem and the meaning behind its words.

“It’s about capturing the intended meaning of the poem, and the other is the interpretation,” Strand said. “But it’s also about performance. It’s about articulation. . . and about whether or not you can really feel the emotion behind the poem.”

The point of the competition is to transfer a love of poetry to a wide variety of students. Together, students compete at the local level, then some progress to a statewide competition, and some advance to nationals. 

Coty brought Poetry Out Loud to Pinewood, where she was in charge of it at the school she taught at previously. 

“We’d had a lot of success with the program,” Coty said. “The person who had been coordinating the Santa Clara County local competition retired, and he asked me if I’d be interested in taking his place.”

Coty believes that Pinewood students should consider signing up for Poetry Out Loud to take a chance and express themselves through poetry. 

“[Our students] have very strong skills in the area of performance and presentation in spoken word,” Coty said. “If you combine those skills with our really rich literature curriculum, it is a perfect fit for [them].”