On Monday night, 8 high school students from around Wyoming competed in ‘Poetry Out Loud,’ an annual event that aims to get students engaged with great poetry.
Students memorize and recite works of their choosing—and are judged on their performance. This year’s winner was Arvada-Clearmont High School Senior Dylan Collins. Rebecca Delaney of Sundance and Lucy Martinez of Jackson were the runners-up.
Eighteen-year-old Collins says he might not seem like the type of guy who’d typically be interested in poetry.
“I live in Arvada on a big ranch, and I’m just a western cowboy kid, and that’s all I do. I don’t do drama—I play a lot of sports and stuff, but I don’t know,” says Collins. “Poetry speaks to everybody. It’s the international language. Everyone can feel what it gives.”
In taking first prize, he won some money for himself and his school—and a paid trip to Washington, D.C., where he’ll compete against students from across the country.
Wyoming’s poet laureate, Echo Klaproth was one of the competition’s judges. She says participants get a lot of the program.
“They have already benefited in more ways than they’ll recognize at this stage and age,” says Klaproth. “It’ll come to them later when a poem—an idea—a theme will come to them—and they’ll go, ‘Oh yeah, that’s what that poem meant, Oh yeah, I understand that now. Oh yeah, I get it.”
The Wyoming Arts Council has hosted ‘Poetry Out Loud’ competitions in the state for the past 10 years. This is the sixth year in a row that a student from Arvada-Clearmont High School has won.