Poetry Out Loud Finalists

March  13, 2014

      When Illinois holds the final round of this year's Poetry Out Loud contest Friday, the Quad Cities will be well-represented. The sixteen state finalists include two from Orion High School, juniors Marley DeVoss and Shelby Hoffman.

      DeVoss says she got started, reciting poems in english class, and enjoyed it. But never pictured herself doing dramatic interpretations in front of an audience.

      "And it makes me nervous every time I have to perform my poem in front of people. But after you're done and you get it the way it's supposed to be, it's such a rush and it's great."

      One of the poems she will perform at the state final is "There's Been a Death in the Opposite House" by Emily Dickinson, and "Envy" by Mary Lamb. 

      Hoffman's choices include "The Children's Hour" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and "Luke Havergal" by Edward Arlington Robinson.

      "Go to the western gate Luke Havergal, there where the vines cling crimson on the wall. And in the twilight wait for what will come.

       The leaves who whisper there of her and some like flying words will strike you as they fall.

       But go and if you listen, she will call. Go to the western gate Luke Havergal."

      This will be Hoffman's second year at the state finals. She says contestants are judged  on how they present themselves, and the "dramatic appropriate-ness" of their performance. 

      The Illinois state finals for Poetry Out Loud will be held in Springfield Friday. The winner will advance to the national contest in April.