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Poetry Out Loud Celebrates 10th Year at National Finals

Poetry Out Loud Celebrates 10th Year at National Finals

This year, the Poetry Out Loud National Recitation Contest will be celebrating its 10th year in Washington, D.C., where 365,000 students will gather to recite classic and contemporary poetry for $50,000 in prizes.

Poetry Out Loud is the “nation’s largest youth poetry recitation competition, and next month, high school students who advanced from a field of more than 365,000 students nationwide will gather in Washington, DC to match skills in reciting classic and contemporary poetry from Shakespeare to Maya Angelou,” according to a press release.

"Poetry Out Loud’s tenth anniversary is an occasion for much celebration," said Robert Polito, president of the Poetry Foundation, in the release. "And a chance for us all to think anew about the role of poems in our lives and our cultures. To memorize and recite a great poem of the past or present, is to ‘own’ it in the most personal way in your body, your breath, and your spirit. Recitation is obviously an interpretive act, but also is creative, and often even self-transformative.”

Poetry Out Loud is a partnership between the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation.

“The program encourages the study of great poetry by offering educational materials and a dynamic recitation competition to high school students across the country. Poetry Out Loud gives students an opportunity to master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about their literary heritage.”

According to the release, “the top finalists and their schools will receive $50,000 in awards, including $20,000 for the National Champion. Award-winning poet Taylor Mali will host the Finals, and the roster of judges includes poets Richard Blanco and Nikky Finney, writer and critic Maria Popova, novelist Brando Skyhorse, and educator Carol Jago. The National Finals will also feature a performance by composer and multi-instrumentalist, Gabriel Kahane.”

The champions will gather at the Poetry Out Loud semifinals on Tuesday, April 28, from 9:00 am to 8:00 pm at Lisner Auditorium at The George Washington University, 730 21st Street NW, Washington, D.C., the release said. Then, nine finalists will advance to the National Finals at Lisner Auditorium on April 29. The release said that “both events are free and open to the public; no tickets or reservations are required.”

Schools who can’t make the competition, but still want to see the competition can view the semifinals and finals through a live, one-time only webcast. Schools interested in registering for the Poetry Out Loud contest can visit here.

Article by Kassondra Granata, Education World Contributor

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