Powerful Words Spoken: North Atlanta Poetry Out Loud


Sara Beth Cimowsky

Terriunna Washington was the winner of the Poetry Outloud competition this year.

Youthful voices and the power of the spoken word. On January 18, 10 students competed in the school’s Poetry Out Loud competition. Poetry Out Loud competitions are held at schools across the country. The aim is to encourage youth to learn about great poetry through memorization and recitation events. This year’s event was the eighth time North Atlanta has held such a competition.

In only her first year in the event, Junior Teriunna Washington won first place in the school division. Second and third place winners were seniors Adriana Hernandez and Jawaun Stephens. In the competition, Washington recited from memory two poems, “Invitation to Love” by Paul Laurence Dunbar and “Time does not bring relief you all have lied,” by Edna St. Vincent Millay.

The event in the auditorium brought together poetry lovers and their rabid fans in the audience. “Winning first was so exciting but the whole event was also nerve-wracking,” said Washington. “The poems I preformed spoke to me. Whenever I read them I could really see myself onstage performing.”

In competition, students were given the opportunity to speak on a variety of topics and to compete in a fun and safe environment. Under the guidance of literature teacher Star Brackin, participating students could blossom into confident public speakers.

The annual event is also great way for students to be exposed to the larger world around them. “Poetry is part of how heritage and culture are passed along from generation to generation,” said Brackin, “I think it’s always very important to emphasize our oral tradition and memorization skills.”

Washington will now advance to the regional completion that will be held at the Atlanta History Center on Feb. 25.