Life Out Loud

Junior Molly Pitra competes in Poetry Out Loud state competition


Sophomore David Camick

Junior Molly Pitra performs a song with the cast of the winter musical at the Fine Arts Assembly March 3. Pitra advanced to the state round of the Poetry Out Loud competition and will perform next on March 14 at the Alliance Theater.

Elliott Seng, Staff Writer

Junior Molly Pitra doesn’t have stage fright. 

And she’s certainly not an amateur.

A three-year member of Advanced Drama Company, Pitra aspires to represent the state of Georgia for Poetry Out Loud in Washington, D.C.

Poetry Out Loud is a national arts program that encourages the study of poetry through a dynamic recitation competition for high school students across the country. 

With 4.1 million poets participating, making it through to Nationals is no small achievement. 

As a freshman, Pitra placed second in the school. As a sophomore, she won the region but didn’t advance past the state competition. This year, she’s going all in to clench the state title. 

There’s less than 24 hours until Pitra takes the stage at the Alliance Theater, but she’s nothing if not prepared. 

“It’s really all about repetition,” she said. “Your audience should understand the exact meaning of the poem just by listening to it.”

Pitra’s chosen two poems for the competition. One must be 25 lines or less and the other has to be pre-20th century. In her opinion, the shorter the poem, the better.

“With a shorter length you can go deeper into the emotion of the poem.” Pitra said. She’s selected the revolutionary “Gitanjali 35” by Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore paired with W.H. Auden’s bittersweet “The More Loving One.” 

Considering one wrong letter costs you a point off your score (for example, adding an ‘s’ to a word that doesn’t have one) and a mispronounced word costs five, it’s a competition that demands perfection… but Pitra believes that poetry is more than strict rules and regulations.

“The emotion of poems helps connect people better than just regular words do,” Pitra said. “Every song is really just a poem.” 

In the end, maybe the competition is less about poetry, and more about life.