Students involved in poetry match

Gathering was Lansing based

Cole Peterson, a senior at Houghton High School, is pictured at the school recently. Peterson was among the students who participated in the Poetry Out Loud competition. (Houghton Daily Mining Gazette photo by Garrett Neese)

HOUGHTON — Students from the Copper Country went to Lansing recently to compete against students across the state in the annual Poetry Out Loud competition.

In the nationwide program, students memorize and recite classic poems. The state winner receives $200 and an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C., for the national competition.

Students from Calumet and Houghton high schools are among those competing. Houghton senior Cole Peterson is reading Lord Byron’s “The Destruction of Sennacherib,” a new choice for state, and school holdovers Emily Dickinson’s “I Felt a Funeral in My Brain,” and Walter de la Mere’s “The Listeners.”

“As I was going through the poems on Poetry Out Loud’s website, I was trying to find a poem that meant something to me, that I could resonate with, because for me I need to actually be able to get into a poem to do a good job with the recitation,” he said. “Those were poems I found to be powerful and eloquent.”

Peterson reads the poems repeatedly while finding recordings of the poems on YouTube.

“As I listen, I try to figure out, ‘Is this tone good?’ or ‘Maybe this is too excited, or too somber'” he said. “So basically I read over them a lot until I get them enclamped in my memory, then I go and learn as much from YouTube as I can.

“And then practice, practice, practice.”

After graduation, Peterson plans to take a couple of gap years to help with his father’s construction and remodeling company. He hasn’t decided on a college, although he’s leaning toward a Bible college.