Saying Goodbye to Poetry Out Loud

A guest post by 12th grader Elizabeth


“Finally!” I thought, as Lani finished her poem. I didn’t even need my teacher to call out my name. I knew I was next since, well, I was the only one left. I guess that’s the way my luck works out. At my last Poetry Out Loud recitation ever, I would be the last to speak.

Poetry Out Loud is an annual event at Meridian where every student is required to memorize and recite a poem for the entire community. Though there’s often a grumble when the Humanities teachers announce it in early January, it’s really gratifying to watch yourself progress. The first recitation, you might just look at the ceiling and hope no one notices the peculiar angle of your head. But during the last one, you gaze confidently out at the crowd. Everyone's victories look a little different at Poetry Out Loud, and that’s okay. We’re all learning to improve our public speaking skills and get some poetry in our bones along the way.

In a way, the responsibility of going last was a perfect ending to my Poetry Out Loud career. My first year, I remember barely looking at the crowd and just throwing out my words as fast as possible so I could scurry off stage. But during this final recitation, I looked around at the crowd, and I felt the words come out not as a jumble of alphabet soup where consonants held on to each other for dear life, but as a steady and confident stream. I left the stage feeling proud at how far I had come.


Interested in more Poetry Out Loud? Click on the divisions to see compilations of their recitations: Division 1, Division 2, Division 3, Division 4.


Meridian's First Student-Directed Play

Students have always been a major part of generating Meridian's theater productions, but this year two seniors, Juliette and Lili, took on the direction of our spring play. They chose John Cariani's Almost, Maine, which features an intrepid and awkward group of small-town characters who grapple with love and heartache over the course of just one night. Juliette and Lili were immediately drawn to the play's awkward charm when they read it aloud together, and directing proved to be a wonderful and rewarding challenge. As they wrote in the program, "We struggled at first to think of ourselves as authority figures, and had to learn quickly to assert ourselves and establish our vision for the show. Our cast has done an amazing job of sticking with us, and their patience and hard work played a huge role in getting this show off the ground. We cannot thank them enough for giving us this opportunity, and for making our final show at Meridian such an incredibly rewarding experience." 

Congratulations on a fantastic production, Juliette and Lili!