This January, 17 participants braved the stage in Santa Rosa High’s annual Poetry Out Loud competition. Freshman Connor Murry came in first place with the poems “The Powwow at the End of the World” by Sherman Alexie and “The Delight Song of TSOAI” by M. Scott Momaday, freshman Bianca Lily came in second place with “Caged Bird” by Maya Angelou and “I Remember, I Remember,” by Thomas Hood, and freshman Caroline Duffy came in third place with “Good People” by W.S. Mervin and “Tarantulas on the Lifebuoy” by “Thomas Lux.”
“With “The Powwow at the End of the World,” I could really feel the emotion that Alexie was portraying in the poem about the anger of how the white people just kind of took over their land and put these reactors and technology all over it so I picked that because I could relate to that,” said Murry, “I picked “The Delight Song of TSOAI” because I needed something upbeat so it was partly for strategy but also because it was about a boy who really enjoyed life and it’s great. Life is pretty great.”
Lily had a similar experience, “‘I chose “Caged Bird” because I read it and I felt a very great emotional connection. [I got the] feeling of [being] a minority race, I’m Hispanic, and getting that feeling that sometimes society just keeps you in a cage and doesn’t let you see anything and I connected with that poem.”
Although neither participant expected to place, both were very pleased with the results. “I will definitely participate again next year,” said Lily.
“I wasn’t really crazy about poetry [before Poetry Out Loud]; I just thought that most of it was sort of empty,” said Murry, “I’m still not crazy about poetry but that’s just because most poems feel frivolous. When you get a good poem you can really feel it.”
Murry won a prize of $100, Lily won $75, and Duffy won $50. Murry will be competing in the county level poetry competition.