Junior John Liner places at state Poetry Out Loud competition

Ana Gutierrez, staff writer

After winning the school-wide Poetry Out Loud competition on Nov. 4, junior John Liner moved on to the state competition,  held at the Downtown HCC Campus this past Saturday, Feb. 25, where he placed among the top five of the 26 total competitors.

The Poetry Out Loud contest, created by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, invites students to memorize and recite three poems of their choice, as long as the poems meet certain guidelines. Hosted by the Cinco Ranch National English Honor Society, students are invited to audition at the school-wide level. Only the student that places first moves on to the state level, where the finalist receives a cash prize and a paid trip to Washington D.C. to compete at the national competition. The first place student at the national tournament receives $20,000 and the library at the winner’s school receives $500 to purchase poetry books.

Liner could not advance to nationals since only the first place competitor at state moves on. However, Liner’s performance was well-accepeted among his teachers and peers.

“If you have not heard him recite his three poems,” Sophomore English teacher Marcia Simmons said. “You have missed something special.”

Liner recited “Football” by Louis Jenkins, “The Birth of John Henry” by Melvin B. Tolson, and “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” by Julia Ward Howe.

Liner found the competition empowering and is determined to audition next year in order to go to Poetry Out Loud Nationals.

“This experience has given me a new respect for poetry,” Liner said. “It was a lot more fun than what I expected.”