Klamath Falls high school senior to compete in national poetry out loud competition

KLAMATH FALLS, Ore — An Oregon Charter Academy high school senior in Klamath Falls, is advancing to the national poetry out loud competition after being crowned state champion.

Tabarjah Neal won the 2021 Oregon Poetry Out Loud competition held virtually last Saturday against 12 other participants. She recited  “Y2K” by Therese Lloyd, “Carnival” by Rebecca Lindenberg and “Bereavement” by William Lisle Bowles according to the Oregon Arts Commission.

According to the Commission in a press release,  “Poetry Out Loud is a national recitation contest for high school students, organized in Oregon by the Oregon Arts Commission in collaboration with the NEA and the Poetry Foundation. Participants memorize and present poems, practicing public speaking skills while exploring the complexity of poetry.”

Neal told NBC5 she picked the poems because of its message and significance to the current times in the pandemic.

“I cried a little bit and I wasn’t really expecting to win,” Neal said when she found out she won. “I was just going into it with an open mind.”

Judges for the competition said Neal used her voice and passion to beat out her competitors.

“Tabarjah not only picked nuanced and emotionally varied poems, she poured a remarkable amount of power and subtlety in her performances,” Portland Creative Laureate Subashini Ganesan, who served as a judge for the state contest said in a press release. “Congratulations Tabarjah – wishing you the very best for nationals and all that you will accomplish in your life!”

The semifinals will be held virtually on May 2nd, and the finals will take place May 27th.

Link to performance: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hQfu6e6BsIQ

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