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St. Mark's School of Texas
10600 Preston Road Dallas, TX 75230
The Student News Site of St. Mark's School of Texas

ReMarker

The Student News Site of St. Mark's School of Texas

ReMarker

Poetry Out Loud competition provides students with new perspective

Senior+Thomas+Whitehurst
PHOTO / DEVELOPMENT OFFICE
Senior Thomas Whitehurst

Poetry Out Loud, a national competition that shines light on the art of poetry, requires countless hours of memorization and practice— leading up to a single recitation in front of a crowd.
English instructor Dr. GayMarie Vaughan uses the competition as a means for students to experience new poems.
“I think we do (Poetry Out Loud) because it brings poetry to life in the classroom; a lot of times students just study and analyze poetry,” Vaughan said. “I think students have to think about language differently and process it differently, and this allows students to understand poetry differently.”
This year’s winner, senior Thomas Whitehurst, advanced from a runoff in his class before competing against the top five students in the school during the Upper School assembly to win.
“I was in creative writing with Mr. Brown, and he offered us the choice to recite a poem for the class,” Whitehurst said. “I really urge people to try it, especially before senior year, if you are interested in a fun experience.”
One of the poems Whitehurst had to memorize was If we must die, by Claude McKay. Whitehurst described the poem as both ‘powerful’ and very ‘concise’.
“It’s a lot of language,” Whitehurst said. “It starts with ‘if we must die’ and sets the scene but then repeats and then brings in that call to action. I just fell in love with the poem.”
Although Whitehurst was not originally a huge fan of poetry, he began to perform more and more poetry throughout his time in Upper School, developing a deeper appreciation for it.
“We had two mandatory poems when I was in AP Chinese last year, one of them being Levi’s ‘Quiet Nights’,” Whitehurst said. “I took it upon myself and ended up finding a kind of fun poem to memorize, Levi’s ‘Drinking Alone by Moonlight’, which was 14 lines and I thought it was fun to learn.”
Whitehurst still wants to keep pursuing poetry and plans on studying liberal arts in college.
“I have to be fluent and an eloquent speaker, and poetry really helps with that,” Whitehurst said. “I can really appreciate the nuances of the English language and I will definitely memorize more for fun. I think it’s sort of a fun hobby.”

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About the Contributor
Rohan Kakkar, Staff Writer