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Houghton student going to Poetry Out Loud finals

Garrett Neese/Daily Mining Gazette Adeline Frazier, a ninth-grade student at Houghton High School, is one of 36 high-school students who will compete at the Poetry Out Loud state finals in Lansing Friday.

HOUGHTON — In her first year competing in Poetry Out Loud, Adeline Frazier is going to the state finals.

Frazier, a ninth-grade student at Houghton High School, is one of 36 high-school students from around the state who will compete this weekend in Lansing.

“I really like theater, and it’s got a lot of theatrical elements to it,” she said. “I just thought it would be really interesting. I really like poetry too.”

Contestants learn and recite three poems. Judges look at physical presence, voice and articulation, dramatic appropriateness, evidence of understanding, overall performance and accuracy.

When Frazier gets to state, she will perform William Shakespeare’s “Sonnet 29: When, in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes” and Edna St. Vincent Millay’s “What Lips My Lips Have Kissed, And Where, And Why.”

Frazier relates to the Shakespeare sonnet, about someone who bemoans their outcast state until they think of a loved one.

The prettiness of Millay’s poem appealed to Frazier, who had it recommended to her by last year’s state contestant.

If Frazier advances to the final round, she’ll perform “The End of Science Fiction” by Lisel Mueller. The meld of Greek mythology and religious elements added a rawness she liked.

Frazier read the poems repeatedly to memorize them, going section by section.

“I’m quick at memorizing text, because that’s what you need to be an actor,” she said. “It was even almost easier with poetry, because it had a set plot, and it tells a whole story.”

Thanks to the competition, she has even returned to writing poems of her own.

It started out as a way to get some extra credit in English and will be a cool experience, Frazier said.

“We live in a small town and I don’t really get to do a lot of things like that,” she said. “I get to meet new people with the same interests as me and just have fun.”

Whatever happens at state, Frazier plans to try again next year.

“I’m more excited for when I’m an upperclassman, because then I feel like I’ll have more experience,” she said. “I’ll do it next year, because it’s been really fun.”

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