2017 ALASKA STATE POETRY OUT LOUD CHAMPION ANNOUNCED
JUNEAU, ALASKA – The Alaska State Council on the Arts (ASCA) and the Juneau Arts & Humanities Council (JAHC) are pleased to announce that Isabella Weiss, a freshman from Colony High School in Palmer is Alaska’s State Champion. Isabella will go on to represent Alaska at the National Competition in Washington, DC in April. The Alaska POL Runner-up for 2017 is Elisa Larson of Petersburg High School.
Isabella Weiss of Wasilla | Colony High School
Isabella Weiss is a 9th grader from Colony High School in Palmer, Alaska. This is her first year participating in Poetry Out Loud, although she has a long history of performing in community theater and school speech and debate competitions. She finds reciting poetry especially fun because it affords her the opportunity to experience the beat and rhythm of words mixed with expressing emotions. Her other interests include competitive gymnastics, travel, hanging out with her sister, and student government activities. Isabella loves working with children and is interested in pursuing a career in teaching or pediatric medicine.
Poetry Out Loud is a program that encourages high school students to learn about great poetry through memorization, performance, and competition. In the 2016-2017 school year, Poetry Out Loud celebrates its twelfth anniversary, reaching millions of students from more than 7,300 schools nationwide.
Isabella Weiss emerged as the Alaska State Poetry Out Loud Champion from a state finalist field of 10 students, including Elisa Larson of Petersburg High School, Madeline Andriesen of Haines High School, Amanda Davison of ElimAniguiin School, Elissa Koyuk of Juneau-Douglas High School, MoriyahLorentzen of Tanalian School in Port Alsworth, Sarah Price of North Pole High School, Ashelyn Rude of Glenallen School, Juan Sarmiento of Homer High School, and Jania Tumey of West Anchorage High School.
This year, more than 3700 Alaska students grades 9-12 participated in Poetry Out Loud in their home communities. ASCA and JAHC congratulate all these students for their work in memorization and recitation of poetry from the Poetry Out Loud Anthology. We thank all of the teachers, librarians, school administrators, parents and community partners who support and encourage their students to participate. Each of these supporters helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about their literary heritage. Alaska Poetry Out Loud is presented in partnership with the Alaska State Council on the Arts, the
Elissa Koyuk, winner of Juneau’s 2017 Poetry Out Loud competition. PHOTO COURTESY OF ELISSA KOYUK
Wednesday, February 15, 2017
Koyuk wins Juneau Poetry Out Loud
By Clara Miller | Capital City Weekly
Winner of Juneau’s 2017 Poetry Out Loud competition Elissa Koyuk, a senior at Juneau-Douglas High School, will represent the capital in the Alaska State Finals on Tuesday, March 7 at @360 North.
During Poetry Out Loud, high school students memorize, perform, and compete poems by published poets, some well-known, some lesser-known.
“I’d never gone on stage before, so I thought my legs were going to collapse, but I got through it and it was really fun,” Koyuk said about the school competition.
She competed at the JDHS auditorium for the school competition, then the city competition, which happened in the more casual atmosphere of the JDHS library.
“For the city competition, it was a lot more natural to recite [the poems] without thinking about everyone watching me,” she said.
The 2017 Alaska competition had more than 3,700 participants, according to a Poetry Out Loud count. The winners of the Alaska State Final will go on to the national competition in Washington, D.C., in April.
This is Koyuk’s first Poetry Out Loud competition because this year was the first time she heard about it; she only recently moved to Juneau, where the local arts community and teachers within the Juneau School District have promoted Poetry Out Loud for many years. She hadn’t done any kind of poetry recitation before, but when her English teacher Jennie Rehder told her class about the competition, Koyuk thought she’d give it a go.
Koyuk recited “Sweetness” by Stephen Dunn and “To Myself” by Franz Wright.
“…I thought I connected really well to them and I could convey the meaning of them,” Koyuk said. She had to choose from the hundreds of poems on the Poetry Out Loud website.
After she chose the poems she memorized them, then let herself find their rhythm.
“There are natural increases in speed and voice volume depending on the area of the poem,” she said. “‘Sweetness’ has kind of an emotional piece towards the end … it naturally gets louder. The poems do the work for me, but I’m relaying the meaning.”
Koyuk said both poems have similar themes.
“So ‘Sweetness’ is about having this sweetness that’s in your life that comes at really odd times,” she said. “It’s what we live by. We live to have this joy and this happiness but it’s not always there. It can be really hard to find sometimes, but when we do find it, it’s really nice. ‘To Myself’ is kind of a self-love sort of poem. It’s about being your own advocate and being able to get through anything.”
For the upcoming state finals, Koyuk will face off with nine other high schoolers: Jania Tumey (West Anchorage High School), Isabella Weiss (Colony High School), Sarah Price (North Pole High School), Juan Sarmiento (Homer High School), Ashelyn Rude (Glenallen School), Amanda Davison (Anguiin School), Elisa Larson (Petersburg School), Moriyah Lorentzen (Tanalian School) and Madeline Andriesen (Haines School).
For the final, Koyuk will recite her previous poems and a new one, which she’ll choose from the Poetry Out Loud website. In the meantime, she’s practicing “Sweetness” and “To Myself.”
“I think it’s important to pick a poem that you can relate with,” she said.
Juneau Arts & Humanities Council is delighted to announce the winner of the 2016 Poetry Out Loud State Championship is Shannon Croft of West Anchorage High and the runner up is Rachel Moore of Shaktoolik. The POL competition was held March 15th at the Studio @360 North. There were 9 participants from high schools throughout the state of Alaska.
2015 Competition Info:
Juneau Arts & Humanities Council is delighted to announce the winner of the 2015 Poetry Out Loud State Championship is Maeva Ordaz of West Anchorage High and the runner up is Rachel Moore of Shaktoolik. The POL competition was held March 14th at the Studio @360 North. There were 9 participants from high schools throughout the state of Alaska.
Maeva’s winning performance in the National Competition in 2015
Watch To hear about the program from the 2015 Alaska and National Poetry Out Loud Champion, Maeva Ordaz, in a video she produced with the Alaska Teen Media Institute you can click the link at https://vimeo.com/138813527. Maeva discusses the value of the program and her experience with the Alaska State and National Poetry Out Loud Program.