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Friend inspires student to enter poetry reading competition

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Sandy High junior Ramie Warner finds fulfillment in poetry, but would like to work in the film industry

POST PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - Sandy High School junior Ramie Warner recites a poem in preparation for last Saturday's statewide Poetry Out Loud competition. For Sandy High School junior Ramie Warner, poetry was an occasional diversion for reading in quiet. But that changed this year.

"It was just kind of a spur-of-the-moment thing," she says of her decision to participate in the Poetry Out Loud. "I've always enjoyed poetry, but I've never considered reading it out loud to people."

Warner was initially motivated by a friend of hers to compete in the school competition at SHS on Feb. 13.

"I have a friend, and this year hasn't been too easy on her," she says. "She appreciates poetry."

Warner's interest earned her a spot at the regional poetry-reading competition on March 7, and then launched her onto the state stage on Saturday, March 11, at the Salem Public Library in Salem.

Though Warner doesn't write poetry of her own, nor does she intend to make a career related to it, she does have a flair for the theatrical, which make her recital that much more substantive.

"My 'realistic' goal is to be an ESL teacher, abroad, hopefully," she says. "(But) the film industry has always been an interest."

Nearing her final year at Sandy High, Warner is considering attending community college on the two-year promise before transferring to Portland State University.

Originally, Warner and her friend intended to both compete, making the event a friends activity, but in the end, Warner competed alone.

The rules of Poetry Out Loud specify that one of each contestant's chosen poems must be pre-20th century and the other two are left to personal preference. The contest provides a large list of titles to choose from.

Warner's choices were "Thank You Note" by Michael Ryan, "The Vacuum" by Howard Nemerov and "The Ocean" by "The Scarlet Letter" author Nathaniel Hawthorne.

"When I read poetry, it's kind of like reading a staged play, but you get the emotion and rhythm through the words," she explains. "The emotion of the poems kind of appealed to me."

Her friend joined her on her trip to Salem, where Warner's poetic journey ended, for now.

"She's always been really supportive of whatever I do," Warner says of her friend.

Check out the video below of Warner reciting two of her favorite poems as she prepared for the state competition held last Saturday.