High School Students Compete in National Poetry Recitation Contest

Raleigh, N.C. (Feb. 4, 2019) — North Carolina students from 38 high schools across the state will take the stage Saturday, Feb. 16 in Greensboro for the annual statewide Poetry Out Loud competition.

Funded by the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with the Poetry Foundation, and coordinated by the North Carolina Arts Council, the poetry recitation semifinals and finals will be held at Triad Stage in downtown Greensboro. This event is free and open to the public.

More than 65 schools participated in Poetry Out Loud with classroom lessons, classroom competitions, and district competitions last fall. Students from these schools vied to make it to the state semi-finals and finals. The state winner will advance to the national Poetry Out Loud finals in Washington, D.C. April 30.

Forty state finalists, from both public and private schools, will compete in the semifinals that start at 9:45 a.m. Finalists will then advance to the final round of competition, which begins at approximately 2:30 p.m. Click here for a list of District Champions across North Carolina.

“Poetry Out Loud has inspired thousands of high school students across North Carolina to discover and develop deep, personal relationships with great classic and contemporary poetry,” said Sharon Hill, Arts in Education director for the N.C. Arts Council. “The state finals are a unique opportunity for students to work with renowned poets and educators from across the state while they network with their peers.”

Poetry Out Loud is funded by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) in partnership with the Poetry Foundation and coordinated by Triad Stage on behalf of the N.C. Arts Council. The competition brings together students with an interest in poetry, spoken word and theater, as well as students just discovering the power of recitation.

The North Carolina Poetry Out Loud finals will be hosted by Dasan Ahanu. Guest judges include Sam Barbee, Metta-Sáma Melvin, Sage Chioma, Lenard Moore, Valerie Nieman, Terri Kirby Erickson, Matthew Wimberly, Crystal Smith, Carolyn York, Katie O'Kelly, Jennifer Jellicorse, Virginia Hirsch, Cassandra Williams, Howard Craft, and Beth Copeland. The judges bring expertise from the literature, poetry, dramatic interpretation, or performance fields.

North Carolina Poet Laureate Jaki Shelton Green will provide opening remarks at the beginning of the day for students, teachers, and families, and Josephus Thompson III will provide entertainment during the state finals.

The winner of the North Carolina Poetry Out Loud finals will receive $200, and the winner’s school will receive a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry materials. The first runner-up will receive $100, with $200 for his or her school library. The state champion of the North Carolina Poetry Out Loud final will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to compete in the national finals in Washington, DC, April 30–May 1, 2019.

Schools participating in the program receive supplemental curriculum materials from the NEA, including an online anthology of poetry to select from, a program guide to help instructors teach recitation and performance, online video resources, promotional and media guides, and access to a comprehensive website.

For more information, contact Lauren Smith, N.C. Poetry Out Loud coordinator, at lauren@triadstage.org or visit http://triadstage.org/learning/poetryoutloud.


About the North Carolina Arts Council

The North Carolina Arts Council builds on our state’s long-standing love of the arts, leading the way to a more vibrant future. The Arts Council is an economic catalyst, fueling a thriving nonprofit creative sector that generates $2.12 billion in annual direct economic activity. The Arts Council also sustains diverse arts expression and traditions while investing in innovative approaches to art-making. The North Carolina Arts Council has proven to be a champion for youth by cultivating tomorrow’s creative citizens through arts education. NCArts.org.


About the National Endowment for the Arts

Established by Congress in 1965, the NEA is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the NEA supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America. For more information, visit arts.gov.


About the Poetry Foundation

The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine, is an independent literary organization committed to a vigorous presence for poetry in our culture. It exists to discover and celebrate the best poetry and to place it before the largest possible audience. The Poetry Foundation seeks to be a leader in shaping a receptive climate for poetry by developing new audiences, creating new avenues for delivery, and encouraging new kinds of poetry through innovative partnerships, prizes, and programs. For more information, visit poetryfoundation.org.


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