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Galway competes at regional Poetry Out Loud competition

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Maker:0x4c,Date:2017-10-17,Ver:4,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar01,E-Y

Maker:0x4c,Date:2017-10-17,Ver:4,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar01,E-Y

Maker:0x4c,Date:2017-10-17,Ver:4,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar01,E-Y

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Following the Poetry Out Loud competition here at the High School, the winners Hannah Thompson and Jon Fajans, traveled to the regional competition at Hudson Valley Community College on February 14th. They competed against 12 other students from local schools. Both students did very well representing Galway, with Hannah one of 6 finalists. We asked Hannah about her experience…

How did the competition tonight compare to the one at school?

This competition was definitely more competitive than the school one although that is to be expected. It was a bit more regimented with stricter rules and introductions. However the actual poem recitation went generally about the same — everyone got up and said their poem then sat back down. The biggest difference I think was the fact that it was in rounds so each person only recited one poem at a time and only the top six got to recite their third poem. Because of this, strategic poem selection and order was important.

How was the prep different for this competition, or was it the same?

In regards to preparation both competitions were generally the same. I ensured that I picked poems that I was comfortable with and that spoke to me. I started with sheer memorization then went on to work with actions and tone shifts. Whenever I recited I made sure someone was reading along as any word change is automatically a deduction which could really hurt at competitive stages.

What was going through your mind during the competition?

During the competition I just wanted to do the best I could. I knew I knew the poems and didn’t want to second guess myself. I was just happy to be there and wanted to try my hardest to do well.

What will you do to prepare for next year?

Next year I will definitely focus on poem selection. I loved a lot of the poems I heard at this competition and feel like having a good poem that has a lot of levels is the key to success.

Why should kids enter a Poetry Out Loud competition?

Personally I really enjoy poetry but I will admit that among my peers I seem to be an anomaly. That being said, even my father who is definitely not a poetry person said he really enjoyed watching the competition. When recited well poetry can be like any other story and really beautiful. Not only is Poetry Out Loud a good opportunity to work on recitation and presentation skills one will need later in life in a friendly environment, one might find that they actually enjoy it more than they expect to.

How was it competing against people you know?

It was actually really cool competing against people I knew. All of my friends are unbelievably talented so it was really great to see them in action. I was more competitive with myself than anyone else so there wasn’t any animosity there, I just really wanted them all to succeed and they did! All of them did really well, I’m so proud.

How does this compare to the many plays you’ve been in? Easier? Harder?

Poetry recitation and theater performance are two different animals. However, they do share many similar features. The reciters that had the most success were the ones who approached their pieces like a monologue and focused on how best to tell their stories. This allowed the poems to wash over the audience and not feel stilted. The setting of Poetry Out Loud was a bit more intimidating, however, because I was not playing a character so it felt much more exposed and personal. I was also in front of a much smaller crowd and could see everyone’s faces. In addition, I was being graded on accuracy so I had to have everything exactly memorized as it was written, something if I’m being honest I rarely perfect when doing a show. All in all, the process of breaking down a poem and monologue are very similar but they each are their individual entities in their own right.

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Galway competes at regional Poetry Out Loud competition