Poets Take the Final Stage Yet Again At Get Lit Competition


Tiffany Lopez, Reporter

Not even a pandemic will keep these poets down. 

On Saturday, May 1, Venice High’s Poetry Club participated in the virtual Get Lit competition placing 5th against GALA, San Gabriel, Cleveland, and Harvard-Westlake.

This year’s theme was “Bloom how you must/Wild until we are free.”

Freshman Amy Carranza performed three poems, including Poem in Praise of Menstruation by Lucille Clifton. 

“It really touched me because I’ve never really opened up about that subject because you know—for us it’s very closed,” she said. “I would say, it’s not a topic that we usually talk about at all, because it is assumed to be, you know, this is disgusting. But it’s just a part of nature.”

Carranza is new to the Poetry Club, but has previous middle school experience. She said that her experience transitioning to a more rigorous high school setting, while also being the youngest on the team, was challenging.

“It’s just like a teenage dilemma—it’s like you’re hitting puberty again,” she said. “You’re growing into that new skin. You just realize that it’s a lot harder in these competitions. It’s a lot more brought out because it’s like you’re growing into an adult.”

The virtual setting made it difficult for poets to reach a state of vulnerability where they felt backed up by their team. 

“I know it was challenging for this team to not have as much in-person history and trust to draw from, but they made our poetry time a kind of refuge from all the turmoil of this long year,” said English teacher Hazel Kight-Witham, the team’s coach.

The virtual setting of the competition also leads to added vulnerability. There weren’t any reactions for poets to bounce off while performing or to get confidence from. In Witham’s words, it’s “a more muted world.” 

Overall, Venice High still thrived during the competition. Venice poets persevered through their obstacles and got to the final stage for the second time in a row. 

Both Witham and Carranza hope for an in-person competition next year.

“I am so trying to keep my hopes down, because I don’t know what this whole pandemic is,” Witham said. “It’s just a hurricane in a war. But I am pretty sure that schools are going to go all in-person next school year, so I think there’s really just one conclusive answer. 

“We hope so, and if enough of us get vaccinated, there’s a shot, pun intended. We all need to be in this together to make it out together.”