POL continues to grow, newcomers earn school titles

In the third year of Poetry Out Loud, participation rises and freshmen win school-wide contest.


Claire Smith

Freshman Sara Watson, the first prize winner of Xavier’s Poetry Out Loud competition, on Dec. 24, 2016.

In 2014, junior Edel Healy brought Poetry Out Loud (POL) to Xavier’s campus. Inspired by her brother’s participation in the program at Brophy, as well as a lifelong love for poetry, Healy hoped to offer a similar opportunity at Xavier.

In the past three years the number of participants has grown from four to 21 club members. Contributing to the hype surrounding the program, freshmen Sara Watson and Cate Baskin took home first and runner-up prizes respectively at Xavier’s school-wide POL competition.

Most students undergo one form of poetry or literary recitation training during their elementary or middle school years so the concept behind the program appears familiar. However, it is actually different. According to POL moderator Shannon Donaldson, the program does not place sole emphasis on reciting.

“[POL] has a unique audience aspect… it sounds cheesy, but we believe that the audience is changed by what they hear,” Donaldson said.

Not only do POL competitors have the opportunity to express themselves in front of an audience through their pick of thousands of poems, personal recitation style and form, the program’s structure allows for creative immersion and fulfillment.

For the students, participation in the program means cultivating public speaking skills, confidence and school pride.

Participants who win class, school, region and state competitions qualify to take their ‘poem with a punch’ to Washington D.C. for the chance to compete and earn prizes.

Whether you are a fan of romance or comedy, free verses or sonnets, non-competitors can also take advantage of POL on campus by supporting the performers through attendance at events.

“It really is an entertaining afternoon to listen and watch how each individual internalizes their poem,” Healy said.