Aidin Lauryn Jai Reid is not a poet. Or so she thought.
She never considered poetry to be her business. While attending Fountain Valley High School in Colorado Springs, her hobbies were football, photography, public speaking, and performing.
In junior high school, she decided to add to the list of things. Reid joined Poetry Out Loud, a national arts education program that, according to its website, “encourages the study of great poetry.”
“I never had much interest in poetry as a medium,” she said. “I found the intersection of public speaking and expressive prose style to be truly magical.”
She ended up reading poetry quite well, which Reid proved by winning the Colorado Poetry Out Loud Championship in 2021 and 2022. This month, she won second place in the program’s national competition. It is a great honor to be recognized by the governor.
“Colorado’s talented young artists are the bright future of our vibrant and prosperous arts and culture,” the Governor of Colorado said. This is stated in a statement by Jared Polis. “I’m thrilled to congratulate Aidin Lauryn Jai Reed as she represents Colorado on the national stage.”
She also received praise from Michael Henry, Executive Director of the Lighthouse Writers Workshop, who said, “As a poet, I am inspired and encouraged by the incredibly talented, smart, and thoughtful high school students who take part in Poetry Out Loud. ”
Reid also eventually found a love for poetry.
During the competition, she recited poems such as “When I Heard an Astronomer” by Walt Whitman and “That’s Not a Small Voice” by Sonia Sanchez.
“I choose poems according to two criteria,” she said. “Is it a consistently strong choice of words and imagery throughout the poem? Does it make me feel and think? If a poem transcends both of these qualities, then I would prefer to bring it to life through performance.”
Reed plans to attend Columbia University in New York City and will focus on fashion, media and business.
She says she will take her love of poetry with her. She says it in her own words that sound like poetry.
“I say this often, maybe overkill and annoyingly, but poetry is everyday,” she said. “There’s something poetic about the tired, pierced eyes of people on the subway at 6 a.m., there’s something poetic about a pile of discarded cigarettes lying on an unsuspecting sidewalk, there really is something poetic about everything we do.”