Two Upper School Students Advance to Regional Poetry Competition

Students Taylor Dews ’18 and Cecilia Innis ’18 are no stranger to the spotlight that comes with the Poetry Out Loud competition. Both ladies competed at the regional competition last year, and Cecilia advanced to states.

This year looks to be a repeat process for ladies, as both are advancing to the regional competition in February.

Each year, schools participate at the school, regional, state and national levels. Taylor and Cecilia participated at the school level with classmates Milan Brooks ’18, Sarah Kirven ’19 and Libby Snowden ’20 who read poems they chose from the Poetry Out Loud anthology. According to the program’s rules, once students advance to state, they must have three poems prepared; one must be 25 lines or fewer and one must be written before the 20th century.

“I chose two poems: ‘I Felt a Funeral in My Brain’ by Emily Dickinson and ‘In Memoriam: Martin Luther King Jr.’ by June Jordan,” says Cecilia. “I chose the first because Dickinson is one of my favorite poets, and I feel like her poetry is relatable. I chose the second because it resonates with how I feel about injustice and activism in America.”

Cecilia is “most looking forward to meeting the contestants and hearing about what got them into Poetry Out Loud” at regionals. She says if this year is anything like last year, her fellow competitors will turn out to be great company.

The Poetry Out Loud program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence and learn about literary history in the scope of contemporary life. To read more about it, visit