Speaking Out

BV students discuss poetry recitation

As part of the Advanced Rep. Theatre curriculum, students are required to interpret a work from Shakespeare, a poem or a duo piece.

Junior Bella L’Heureux said she chose poetry interpretation, which is memorizing three poems – one that is 25 lines or fewer, one pre-20th century and one random.

L’Heureux said she her reason for pursuing poetry recitation was because she has always enjoyed how meaningful poems are, as well as it being a requirement for her class.

“I like how you can connect simple words and phrases to a deeper meaning and connect to people in the audience that you have nothing in common with,” L’Heureux said. “I like finding a unique way to express how I’m feeling.”

L’Heureux said interpreting poetry can be difficult, so she received help from acting teacher Maureen Davis and senior Maria Gnoza.

Gnoza said she has been involved with Advanced Rep. for two years — junior and senior year. She said Davis encouraged her to try poetry recitation.

“I liked how different it was from ordinary monologues,” Gnoza said. “Ordinary monologues are more about emotion and performance whereas poetry is all about sound and patterns.”

According to the National Speech and Debate Association, the most difficult part of reciting poetry at competitions is finding a poem of the appropriate length.

“I recite [poems] that are provided for [students] on the Poetry Out Loud website,” L’Heureux said. “There are certain requirements that the competition has, and they want you to meet those requirements and ensure that they are written by professional poets. [Poetry Out Loud provides] a lot of more famous poems, but they also don’t want want us to use the stereotypical poems.”

As far as competing goes, L’Heureux said she is proud of her work at her last competition.

“I just won runner-up for the State [in 2017] for Poetry Out Loud,” she said. “I am trying to make it to State again [next year], and hopefully I will [also] make it to Nationals.”