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Poetry Out Loud 2019

Foster Johnson, a junior at Bishop Heelan High School, reads Noah Buchholz's "The Moonlight" during the Northwest Iowa Poetry Out Loud Recitation Contest at the Betty Strong Encounter Center Sunday. She and Grace Kiple, a senior at Sergeant Bluff-Luton, will be heading to Des Moines in March to take part in the statewide Poetry Out Loud contest. 

SIOUX CITY -- Two area high school students will be headed to Des Moines in March to compete in the state finals of Poetry Out Loud, a nationwide poetry recital competition. 

Foster Johnson, a junior at Bishop Heelan High School, and Grace Kiple, a senior at Sergeant Bluff-Luton, were the winners of Sunday's Northwest Iowa Poetry Out Loud Recitation Contest at the Betty Strong Encounter Center. If they perform well at the statewide competition March 3, one of them could head to the national competition in Washington, D.C. 

Johnson read Noah Buchholz's "The Moonlight" and Juan Felipe Herrera's "Let Me Tell You What a Poem Brings." "The Moonlight" was originally written in American Sign Language, while "Let Me Tell You What a Poem Brings" is a poem about poetry. 

"I'm kind of more drawn to dramatic poems, I just like the style more," she said. She just selected her poems last week, giving her only a few days to rehearse them. 

This won't be Johnson's first poetry rodeo in Des Moines -- she went during her freshman year of high school. 

Kiple read "The Wish, By a Young Lady" by Laetitia Pilkington and "Their Bodies" by David Wagoner.

"Their Bodies," dedicated to anatomy students at Indiana University, is about cadavers and how they should be treated. Written in the 18th century, "The Wish, By a Young Lady" is about women's role in society in that era. 

"I'm not trying to get political, but I just think it's very interesting how much our society has changed since then," Kiple said of "The Wish, By a Young Lady." 

Kiple has also been to the Des Moines contest before -- in fact, she won at state in her sophomore year and went to nationals. Last year, she got second place in the state competition. 

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