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Jacobs, Laney tops in Poetry Out Loud at James Clemens

Cody Jacobs and Skyler Laney claimed top places in Poetry Out Loud at James Clemens High School.

Cody Jacobs and Skyler Laney won the Poetry Out Loud contest at James Clemens High School. (Photo contributed)

“Poetry Out Loud is a national recitation contest that begins in the classroom,” sponsor Lucas Powell said. Classroom winners advance to school-wide competition and then to regional, state and national levels.

Recitations are judged on physical presence, articulation, dramatic appropriateness, difficulty, understanding, overall performance and accuracy.

Students choose two poems to recite from anthologized poetry at poetryoutloud.org. An anthology category runs parallel with the recitation contest, Powell said.

A junior, Cody won for original recitation. His parents are John and Candice Jacobs. “I’ve been writing for my church and decided to try Poetry Out Loud,” Cody said.

Cody feels free when writing poetry. “It helps get my emotions out,” he said. He attributes his win to lyrical strength in his original poem, “Life”:

“A guy once told me the sky’s the limit, but how I said?

There is footprints on the moon.

A small man can cast a big shadow

So let your presence loom.”

Cody’s second poem, “Roll Tide,” has this passage:

“I lost a loved one that loved to get lost.

He got addicted to the sauce.

But I came along and he quit for me

Because a better example is what he wanted to be.”

Skyler won for anthology recitation with “Stanzas in Meditation” by Gertrude Stein and Shakespeare’s “Sonnet XVII.” Skyler enjoys acting and had fun reciting poetry in front of her class. “I was very excited when I won my class competition and then the school competition,” she said.

Skyler advanced to regional competition at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. As a freshman, Skyler was extremely nervous to compete against seniors. “I was shocked and overjoyed when I came in fourth place,” she said about advancing to the state contest in Montgomery on Feb. 18.

Skyler credits her win to fulfilling the judges’ expectations and completely focusing on her recitation. Her parents are Patrick and Crysti Laney.

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