Third Annual Poetry Out Loud expresses emotions

The third annual Poetry Out Loud (POL) recitation competition took place on Friday, November 29. Hallways were filled with excited chatter, warming up the atmosphere. 

The week before the final event in Parker Hall, all Upper Year students participated in POL, reciting poems in their English classes, making it an event that truly encompassed the whole school.

The best contenders from each grade were given a chance to perform during assembly. 

At the start of the assembly, Ms. Leaf Elhai, English teacher, welcomed the audience, emphasizing the significance of poetry and storytelling, by talking about how it expresses our deepest emotions and captures what it means to be human.

Following the speech, Ms. Ritika Roy, English teacher, performed her own original poem with musical accompaniment by Ms. Eileen O’Neall, music teacher.

Parker Hall had a tense air in anticipation for the student champions of each grade.

William Barlow, Class of 2023, was the first and youngest to perform. He performed “Acquainted With the Night” by Robert Frost. As he got up, heavy eyes weighed on him. He started to recite. His body was tense at first, but it loosened up as his words flowed. His understanding of the poem was apparent, each action deliberate. His words were soft and clear, capturing the emotions of Frost’s poem. 

Saniya Bajaria, Class of 2022, was next. Her words were clear and expressive. She had unwavering confidence in every phrase. She recited “Insomnia” by Dante Gabriel Rossetti.

Faadumo Adam, Class of 2021, performed “Go Slow” by Langston Hughes. The tension was palpable, broken by a genuine smile from Adam. But as her poem progressed her tone got more serious, she became invested in the articulation of every word. 

Finally, Syma Sahu, Class of 2020, took the stage with unassailable confidence, performing “Complainers” by Rudy Francisco. Her articulation was clear, the intensity growing with each line. Her movements and shifts in tone were flawlessly expressive and deliberate, reflecting the amount of effort she put in her rehearsal. This performance resulted in her victory.

These poems, capable of capturing vivid emotion, memory and sentiment demonstrated the teachers’ points precisely: understanding a poem gives us an understanding of expression. This year’s POL was an unparalleled success.

Woodstock celebrates poetry: Muzhgan Noori, Syma Sahu, and Tala Bagh, all Class of 2020, performing their original poem, which they first presented at a spoken word poetry competition in Bangalore in November.


Arnav Kumar is a staff reporter

Edited by Archita Aggarwal

Photos by Mesa Tsurho

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