MHS student to represent at state-level competition

Pure poetry!

T-R PHOTO BY ADAM SODDERS Isabella Pedersen’s passion for poetry and practice in recitation has propelled her to the 2016 Poetry Out Loud State Final contest in Des Moines. As part of her practice routine, Pedersen said she memorizes the chosen poems and then practices reciting the words from memory, as shown here.

Memorizing, reciting, performing.

Marshalltown High School senior Isabella Pedersen will go to the Poetry Out Loud state competition in Des Moines after placing first in the school’s contest Wednesday.

“It was a huge honor, I was definitely very excited,” Pedersen said.

She took first place for her recitation of poems “An Apology for her Poetry” by Duchess of Newcastle Margaret Cavendish and “Through a Glass Eye, Lightly” by Carolyn Kizer.

Pedersen said she chose the two poems because she connected with each.

“The message behind it is so prevalent,” she said of “An Apology for her Poetry,” written in the 17th century, adding the poem, to her, is about value and worth.

She said the Kizer poem attracted her because she felt a deep connection with the words inscribed.

“I connected with ‘Through a Glass Eye, Lightly,’ on an emotional level,” Pedersen said.

As with many competitions, poetry contest recitations require hours of practice and patience. Pedersen said she and her fellow contestants were able to participate in a three-hour workshop through MHS.

“It was a workshop for the competitors to work together,” she said. “That was definitely very helpful.”

She said the practicing phase requires memorization of the chosen poems, followed by analysis and deciding what message to convey to judges and the audience through the poem.

“A lot of that is practice,” she said.

The state Poetry Out Loud competition takes place in March 2017, and Pedersen said she looks forward to her first competition at the state level.

“This is my third year in Poetry Out Loud,” she said. “I haven’t made it to state before.”

To help prepare, Pedersen said she will have a coach from the school district.

“I will perform the same poems for state,” she said, referring to the poems she recited at the school contest. “There may be a third.”

Along with reciting poetic works, Pedersen said she enjoys reading and writing poetry, as well as literature in general.

“I do write some poetry, I definitely do read poetry,” she said. “I’m very involved in the MHS drama and music programs.”

Pedersen is set to compete at the 2016 Poetry Out Loud State Finals March 5, 2017 at the State Historical Museum of Iowa, 600 E. Locust St., Des Moines. The national finals contest is set for April 24-26 in Washington D.C.


Contact Adam Sodders at (641) 753-6611 or