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Arts & Culture
The community of Unalaska is a busy place to live. Our community calendar is full of events and activities. Talk of the Town is your source for coverage of community events and sports. KUCB staff writes many of the stories, but we also accept contributions from community members for this section of our website. If you'd like to submit a story to Talk of the Town, send it to

Poetry Out Loud Competition Showcases Talented Youth

Brian Conwell

Unalaska’s annual Poetry Out Loud competition took place last Tuesday at 6 pm in the high school auditorium. Poetry Out Loud is a nation-wide competition in which students pick a poem, memorize it, and recite it in front of judges and an audience. The competition is based on a student’s thorough and accurate memorization of the poem and their personalized and dynamic recitation.

English classes at Unalaska City High School have been learning about poetry for the last couple weeks and almost all high school students in English memorized a poem to recite in class. There was a massive diversity in the topics of the poems recited with poems about fishing, cadavers, and Washington D.C. Students were certainly able to broaden their literary horizons through poetry.             

At the competition, students in grades 9-12 came to recite poetry in front of judges from the community. Again, a broad range of poems were presented along with each student’s individual recitation conveying the meaning of the poem. Every performance was impressive, and the judges made sure to state the difficulty in choosing a winner. Many in the audience remarked that it was the best Poetry Out Loud they’d seen to date.

Kiara Haist took first place reciting The Gaffe by C.K. Williams. Kathleen Tan took second reciting Abecedarian Requiring Examination of Angelikan Seraphym Subjugation of a Wild Indian Reservation by Natalie Diaz. John Khongsuk took third reciting Art vs. Trade by James Weldon Johnson.Elizabeth Mears took fourth reciting To Have Without Holding by Marge Piercy. LeeAnn Mears took fifth reciting All This and More by Mary Karr. A video of Kiara’s performance will be sent in to a regional competition in order to qualify for state. Wish her luck!

It was a great night of poetry that showcased the immense talent of Unalaska’s youth. Great job to all participants!