SIOUX CITY | Once more, a Sioux City student will head to a national poetry competition to represent Iowa.
Bishop Heelan High School senior Grace Beumler won the 2016 Poetry Out Loud competition Sunday at the State Historical Museum in Des Moines.
The nationwide competition is coordinated in Iowa by the Iowa Arts Council. High school students memorize and recite poetry out loud, judged by accuracy, performance and evidence of understanding.
Beumler won the state competition, and will go on to compete at the national finals at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. May 2-4, where $50,000 in scholarships and stipends will be awarded.
By winning, Beumler earned $200 and Heelan will receive $500 to purchase poetry books.
Poetry competitions became a passion for Beumler three years ago. While she had an interest in poetry, it was hard to understand at times.
Through the help of her poetry coach, Diana Wooley of LAMB Arts in Sioux City, Beumler grew more confident in her ability to convey not only what the poet was trying to say, but how to say it.
“Through the competition, I’ve learned to appreciate (poetry) more, how to interpret it,” Beumler said.
The three poems she recited at the competition were “Confessions,” by Robert Browning, “Idea 61: Since there’s no help, come let us kiss and part,” by Michael Drayton, and “A History Without Suffering,” by E.A. Markham.
“I picked “A History Without Suffering,” because of the contrast it has compared to the first two poems. It’s about people living with suffering and how you view things,” she said.
Beumler and three other students from Sioux City made it into the final round Sunday, and by then Beumler was quite nervous.
“You have to have confidence in what the poet is conveying through their words,” she said. “Winning was exciting, I worked very hard this year.”
Alyssa Collet of Sioux City West finished third in Sunday's competition.
Beumler will recite the same three poems in May at the nationals. Beumler is the fifth person from the Sioux City area in the past seven years of the competition to go to nationals, she said.
“The competition was very difficult this year -- everyone did a good job,” she said. “I’m excited to be going to finals.”
The finals will be streamed at poetryoutloud.org .