Dead Poets Society recruits members for spoken word competition

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The Dead Poets Society (DPS) is looking for students interested in competing in Poetry Out Loud, a spoken word poetry competition held across the United States for high school students interested in expanding their public speaking skills and knowledge on literary history. 

“[DPS was] inspired by the lack of any big opportunities for creative writers at Heritage,” DPS co-president Anastasia Cortada said. “Outside of the literary magazine, scholastic competitions, and other contests our club finds, there isn’t much for aspiring poets to get involved in,” she said. 

Poetry Out Loud was started in 2005, and over four million high school students have participated in the competition since its founding. The competition begins at the local level, and progresses until state and national competitions. Competing students have to memorize up to three poems from the Poetry Out Loud anthology. State-level winners receive a $200 prize and an all-expenses-paid trip to compete at the national level, and national winners, no matter if they place first or twelveth, receive at least $1,000 for their efforts.

“One of [DPS’] co-presidents last year, Jennifer Chiou, had two years of experience in spoken word competitions from middle school. She competed at the competition and gave me tips on how to compete when I planned to [compete] during eighth grade. However, COVID really disrupted those plans, but I hope to compete properly this year,” co-president Rajam Arunprakash said. 

For students interested in competing, email Anastasia Cortada at [email protected] with any questions or concerns. “By competing, students can win prizes while having fun and exploring spoken word poetry. Spoken word is also an excellent way to become a more powerful orator as well,” Cortada said. 

While DPS members aren’t strangers to submitting for competitions, it’ll be the club’s first year competing, as a club-wide competition, in Poetry Out Loud. “DPS hasn’t hosted any competitions as a club, but multiple of our members have been featured in our literary magazine, won awards in the Scholastic competitions, received scholarships for numerous writing programs, and have been published in different literary journals,” Cortada said. (Photo/Wikimedia Commons)