On January 30th, 20 Morro Bay High School students from all grades came together for the 13th Annual Poetry Out Loud with Maddy Booker and Vienna Laughlin winning first and second place, respectively. Each performer recited two poems of their choosing and were judged on their accuracy and performance. This school competitions follows class competitions from English classes all around campus. Booker continued onto the district competition on Friday, February 8th, where she competed against winners from several nearby schools.
Maddy Booker (senior), who won the competition with her poems “The Lake Isle of Innisfree” by W.B Yeats and “Undivided Attention” by Taylor Mali, described the event as something she enjoyed, saying that her experience in theatre has helped her enjoy performing, which meant that Poetry Out Loud is “usually a pretty good experience for [her].” Comparing it to her experience as a competitor in her Sophomore year, Booker said that she “really enjoyed this year. ” While her Sophomore year was “very much a competition” with “certain people who wanted to win,” Booker described this year as having a “very cool environment.” This year, she felt, “everyone…was just there to appreciate each other’s poetry.” Because of this, she said, it was “really relaxed and really cool.”
When asked about her poems, Booker said that she chose “Undivided Attention,” the poem which she chose for her class recitation, initially for its mention of a “grand piano,” which spoke to her musical interests. More significantly, however, was the poem’s perspective, which is from a teacher’s point of view. As someone who wants to be a teacher, this caught Booker’s attention and helped her relate to it.
As the winner of the Morro Bay High School school competition, Booker is now advancing to the local county competition. She said that she was “excited, but [doesn’t] know what to expect” because this will be her first time attending the event.
Vienna Laughlin, a Sophomore, won second place in the school competition. Performing ““The Maid’s Lament” by Walter Savage Landor and “Bleeding Heart” by Carmen Giménez Smith, Vienna said that the competition as her first year going to the school-wide competition was “very good” and “overall…a super fun experience.” She added that it was “nice knowing so many people were interested in poetry.” Talking about her poems, she said that her “first poem was “The Maid’s Lament” by Walter Savage Landor,” which she chose because she “felt it had a lot of depth to it that I could work with.” Her second poem, “ “Bleeding Heart” by Carmen Giménez Smith” was chosen because she thought it “was a perfect poem to continue to spread the heartache that comes with what’s going on in politics.”