She used to live beside the ocean.
When 15-year-old L.V. Rogers student Aoife Owton was looking for a poem to recite as part of the nationwide Poetry in Voice competition, she chose “The Tide Rises, the Tide Falls” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow because it reminded her of standing by the shore.
“I’ve always loved pieces about the ocean, and I like this one because it’s kind of mysterious,” Owton told the Star, after being announced as one of 24 finalists selected from approximately 10,000 participants.
“It says over and over again ‘the tide rises, the tide falls’ and there’s this traveller who walks across the beach and disappears. It shows that you can be a part of life, then die, but life will still go on.”
To earn her spot, Owton first had to best the other students in her class before moving to the school-wide competition. Once she took the top spot, she filmed herself reciting her poem and was ultimately invited to the national competition in Vancouver on April 20.
Her teacher Kris Hryniw will be joining her for the event, where the audience she will be performing for will be significantly bigger than the ones she’s experienced so far. But she’s not intimidated.
“It’s easier because it’s in front of people I don’t know, so I won’t be self-conscious. It’s still pretty daunting, though, to thinkabout being on a big stage.”
That’s why she’s practising like crazy.
“Reciting poetry is like taking someone else’s idea and sharing it with the world. I love that.”
Hryniw is excited to see his student shine, and to participate in the Poetry in Voice weekend. According to him, her delivery is hair-raising.
“When she performed that poem the first time, I was just blown away.
“She really caught the rhythm of the tide rising, the tide falling, and the softness of her voice and the way she used intonation brought you right into the poem, making you feel like you’re standing at the edge of the ocean watching the waves.”