|Rebecca Wisniewski of Milford, Delaware's Poetry Out Loud Champion|
Rebecca is a member of the school drama club and has acted in plays and musical for years. She unexpectedly found that learning poetry has made her a better performer in general, stating, “...you have to put yourself in the background – while you are forming a deeper connection to the pieces. Reciting a poem means you have to pull from your emotions. It’s about being self-aware, even while forming a deep connection to the voices in the poems.” Ms. Wisniewski also took part in Poetry Out Loud previously in her junior year.
Wisniewski chose poems this year with very different energies. “Domestic Situation” by Ernest Hilbert, which Wisniewski calls “a tricky poem,” challenged her with its seeming sarcasm about a somber subject – domestic abuse. “I Felt a Funeral, in my Brain” by Emily Dickinson felt manic and mournful, and “has so much room inside it to perform.” Her favorite, “How to Triumph Like a Girl”, by Ada Limon, was, in Rebecca’s words, “fun, upbeat and has a positive message.” All of the poems scored high marks with the judges.
For her winning presentation, Wisniewski will receive $200 and will compete at the National Semifinals which will be held virtually on Sunday, May 2nd beginning at Noon on the National Endowment for the Arts website, arts.gov. Milford High School will receive a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry materials for its school library. Lia Dougherty, the first runner-up will receive $100, and Sanford School will receive $200 for its school library.
The Poetry Out Loud state competition, sponsored by the Delaware Division of the Arts in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, is part of a national program that encourages high school students to learn about great poetry through memorization, performance, and competition.