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Reciting poems from the heart

CCHS student Anna Wilson competed in the Poetry Out Loud competition in Salem

by: courtesy of Andie Petkus/CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Anna Wilson with CCHS drama instructor Anita Hoffman

Crook County High School Sophomore Anna Wilson, 16, got the chance to go compete alongside follow poetry lovers on Saturday afternoon at the state Poetry Out Loud competition in Salem.
   Although she didn't win, Wilson became the first Crook County High School student to compete at the state level in the competition.
   "I thought it was pretty fun listening to people from all over Oregon," Wilson said. "There were a lot of talented people."
   Wilson, who was accompanied by CCHS drama teacher Anita Hoffman, said that competition was more friendly than fierce. The contest lasted about two hours, she said.
   "I got to talk to a lot of the other contestants and got to know them," she said.
   This time, the bar was raised from two to three poems which competitors had to memorize and recite. Wilson recited "The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost, "Sonnet CXVI (Let Me Not to the Marriage of True Minds)" by William Shakespeare and "A Satirical Elegy on the Death of a Late Famous General" by Jonathan Swift.
   Poetry out loud is a collaborative project of the National Endowment for the Arts, the Poetry Foundation and the Oregon Arts Commission. The competition was judged by Oregon Poet Laureate Lawson India, poets Judith Barrington and Primus St. John, and theater director Scott Palmer.
   Wilson competed against high school students from 13 high schools across the state. These included Brookings-Harbor High School in Brookings, The Center for Advanced Learning in Gresham, Hood River Valley High School, Veritas High School in Newberg, Metropolitan Learning Center in Portland, Woodburn Arts & Communication Academy, Bandon High School, Madison High School in Portland, Northwest Academy in Portland, Crook County High School, Salem Academy Christian, Sherwood High School and South Medford High School.
   The eventual winner was Sophia Soberon, 17, of Brookings-Harbor High School, who won $200 and an all-expense paid trip to Washington D.C. for the national competition on April 29.
   All participants received a copy of "From Here We Speak", an anthology of Oregon poetry and a personalized Poetry Out Loud bookplate.
   For Wilson, her reign as Crook County High School's state finalist may not be over.
   "Yeah, I think I'll try out again next year," she said.