TWIN FALLS, Idaho — A Xavier Charter School senior has read her way to the state finals of the Poetry Out Loud competition. Her next stop could be nationals.
Twin Falls’ Hannah Westermann has competed in Poetry Out Loud since she was in seventh grade
“It gives me a chance to go somewhere, and be up on stage and feel something in another person‘s work,” said Westermann.
As a fine arts school, Xavier Charter School focuses on the poetry recitation competition as an opportunity for students to demonstrate their knowledge of poetry.
“It is the best way, in my experience, for kids to essentially climb inside a poem and understand what it is about, because they really have to feel it in order to recite it well,” said Amanda Loosli, Chair of Xavier Charter School’s English Department.
Loosli has coached Westermann for six years now.
"She’s a very talented, well spoken kid and she is great at choosing poems that are something that she can really bring it to life," said Loosli. "She has a very strong voice and appreciation for poetry which comes through when she recites."
When it comes to recitation, finding the perfect poem is crucial.
“I find a poem that speaks to me; it has to be something that I can relate to and that I can… feel because if I can’t feel it then I won’t be able to recite it in a way that gives the poem justice,” said Westermann.
This is her first time making it to this stage of the competition.
“It’s kind of surreal, maybe going to nationals. If I make it that’ll be great,” said Westermann.
This year, competitors submit their poems virtually.
“We generally do very well at state so we look forward to seeing what Hannah will do,” said Loosli.
Hannah submitted her poem recitations for state finals and is awaiting the email with her score and status for nationals.