Sophomore Ben Cohen Places Third in Poetry Out Loud State Finals

by Kaela Goss

April 2016 (Volume 66, Issue 3)

In this year’s annual Poetry Out Loud competition, Needham High School had one of our very own students as a finalist in the Massachusetts State finals. Ben Cohen, a sophomore, finished as the second runner up, taking third place for entire state. This was not his first time participating in Poetry Out Loud, as last year he made it to the state finals as well. When asked about his passion for poetry, Ben explained, “Reciting poetry is cool because you can interpret the message of the poem and show your interpretation through your performance. You can play with how the sounds of the words feel in your mouth. It’s a cool job, having to translate the emotions on the page by using your diction and facial expressions.” Ben says that he used various methods to memorize the poetry, including singing his lines in the shower–a past time many of us could relate to. Ben doesn’t just recite poetry, he also writes his own. He says he likes poetry because “it’s freer than prose. You can play with consonance, symbolism, imagery.”

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