A Bend poet who is deaf made her debut on the national stage Tuesday, representing the state of Oregon at the National Poetry Out Loud contest in Washington, D.C.
“I am so so nervous. I’m really nervous for tonight,” Kari Morgan said.
Kari, 16, went to D.C. in hopes of becoming the first deaf poet to ever win the national contest.
“In all 50 states, I’m the only one that’s deaf. I’m competing against all these hearing kids, so it feels like a big moment to get other deaf people involved and it’s really important,” Kari said.
Kari says that’s a lot of pressure.
“I want to show the deaf community all around the U.S. that I can win. If I can do it, so can you. Out of all of these hearing kids, there’s one deaf person. I just want them to know that they can do it,” Kari said.
One contestant from each of the 50 states compete at the national level. Only 24 of those 50 advance to the second round. After that, the top nine poets in the U.S. face off in the final round.
Kari unfortunately did not advance to the round of 24 on Tuesday night.
She hopes what she did accomplish inspires people in the deaf community.