2013 Poetry Out Loud Registration Now Open!
In 2012, over 365,000 high school students nationwide participated in Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest. More than 11,000 of those students were from Arizona high schools. Over the past six years, Arizona Poetry Out Loud has grown steadily as more and more teachers find surprising success “making poetry matter” for students. Registration for the 2012-2013 season of Poetry Out Loud opened last week and I’d like to take a moment to share a little bit more about the program.
If you aren’t familiar, Poetry Out Loud (POL) is a national recitation competition for high school students that provides free classroom materials for teachers and scholarship opportunities for students. Designed to capitalize on the latest trends in poetry – recitation and performance – POL fits easily into the English, Theatre or Forensics class. The curriculum satisfies most NCTE English Language Arts Standards, and the program takes place over the span of just two to three weeks, according to each teacher’s interest and agenda.
In addition, the Arts Commission is pleased to be working with regional partners (Young Writers Program at Arizona State University and the University of Arizona Poetry Center) to provide additional program support and in-school opportunities for teachers and students. These incredible organizations are strongly tied to their local literary and school communities, and are dedicated to creating opportunities for increased student and school involvement in poetry and literary arts.
The competition portion of the Poetry Out Loud program is structured like a spelling bee, beginning with classroom and school level contests. School winners advance to a Regional Competition, and regional finalists advance to the State Finals, where students compete for the title of Arizona State Champion and an all-expenses paid trip to Washington, D.C., (with an adult chaperone) to compete at the Poetry Out Loud National Finals and the chance to win a $20,000 college scholarship award. Each winner at the state level receives $200 and the state winner’s school receives a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry books. One runner-up in each state receives $100; his or her school receives $200 for the purchase of poetry books.
Free classroom materials, cash and scholarship prizes, state and national competitions; these components make POL a great program, but the teachers and students who participate are what make it extraordinary. The real magic of Poetry Out Loud is the shared experience it creates across classrooms, schools, cities and states, and the life long love of poetry it instills in our nation’s youth. As Erik Hollis, the 2008 and 2009 Arizona Poetry Out Loud State Champion said, “The top three things I took away from competing in Poetry Out Loud were never set limits for myself regarding goals that I am passionate about; a greater love of poetry and being exposed to so many different writers; an experience that I will remember for a lifetime.”
Poetry Out Loud is sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts and The Poetry Foundation. Arizona Poetry Out Loud is a program of the Arizona Commission on the Arts, administered in collaboration with its regional partners, Arizona State University’s Young Writers Program and the University of Arizona Poetry Center.
Poetry Out Loud is open to all Arizona High Schools. To register your school for the 2012-2013 season visit www.azarts.gov/pol. Online registration will be open August 6 – November 2, 2012.