Hannah Sturgis,16, started reading William Shakespeare’s poetry in the third grade and Emily Dickinson’s in the fifth grade.
“I didn’t understand it,” she said with a laugh after winning the state-wide Poetry Out Loud competition Tuesday night.
It’s the second year in a row that she’s won the recitation contest, which trots high school students in brand new blouses and oxford shirts across the Smyrna Opera House stage as they recite poems from the well known – three of the four boys in the contest performed Invictus, you know the one, the Victorian-era poem steeped in stoic strength that ends with, “I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul” – to the much more modern – Jordan McMillan performed a 2009 poem called Domestic Situation about an abusive relationship. She came in third in the contest.
A total of 18 students from across the state, each of whom had won their schools’ competitions, were in the contest on Tuesday night with their families packed into the small theater over the Smyrna library. Each one had memorized three poems, all of them performed in the first two rounds and the final six recited their third poem in the last round.